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SECOND DIVISION

[G.R. No. 135945. March 7, 2001]


THE UNITED RESIDENTS OF DOMINICAN HILL, INC., represented by its President RODRIGO S. MACARIO, SR., petitioner, vs. COMMISSION
ON THE SETTLEMENT OF LAND PROBLEMS, represented by its Commissioner, RUFINO V. MIJARES; MARIO PADILAN,
PONCIANO BASILAN, HIPOLITO ESLAVA, WILLIAM LUMPISA, PACITO MOISES, DIONISIO ANAS, NOLI DANGLA, NAPOLEON
BALESTEROS, ELSIE MOISES, SEBIO LACWASAN, BEN FLORES, DOMINGO CANUTAB, MARCELINO GABRIANO, TINA
TARNATE, ANDREW ABRAZADO, DANNY LEDDA, FERNANDO DAYAO, JONATHAN DE LA PENA, JERRY PASSION, PETER
AGUINSOD, and LOLITA DURAN, respondents.
SECOND DIVISION
[G.R. No. 106296. July 5, 1996]
ISABELO T. CRISOSTOMO, petitioner, vs. THE COURT OF APPEALS and the PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents.
*

D E C I S I O N
MENDOZA, J.:
This is a petition to review the decision of the Court of Appeals dated July 15, 1992, the dispositive portion of which reads:
WHEREFORE, the present petition is partially granted. The questioned Orders and writs directing (1) reinstatement of respondent
Isabelo T. Crisostomo to the position of President of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines, and (2) payment of salaries and
benefits which said respondent failed to receive during his suspension insofar as such payment includes those accruing after the
abolition of the PCC and its transfer to the PUP, are hereby set aside. Accordingly, further proceedings consistent with this decision
may be taken by the court a quo to determine the correct amounts due and payable to said respondent by the said university.
The background of this case is as follows:
Petitioner Isabelo Crisostomo was President of the Philippine College of Commerce (PCC), having been appointed to that
position by the President of the Philippines on July 17, 1974.
During his incumbency as president of the PCC, two administrative cases were filed against petitioner for illegal use of
government vehicles, misappropriation of construction materials belonging to the college, oppression and harassment, grave
misconduct, nepotism and dishonesty. The administrative cases, which were filed with the Office of the President, were subsequently
referred to the Office of the Solicitor General for investigation.
Charges of violations of R.A. No. 3019, 3 (e) and R.A. No. 992, 20-21 and R.A. No. 733, 14 were likewise filed against him with
the Office of Tanodbayan.
On June 14, 1976, three (3) informations for violation of Sec. 3 (e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (R.A. No. 3019, as
amended) were filed against him. The informations alleged that he appropriated for himself a bahay kubo, which was intended for
the College, and construction materials worth P250,000.00, more or less. Petitioner was also accused of using a driver of the College as
his personal and family driver.
[1]

On October 22, 1976, petitioner was preventively suspended from office pursuant to R.A. No. 3019, 13, as amended. In his
place Dr. Pablo T. Mateo, Jr. was designated as officer-in-charge on November 10, 1976, and then as Acting President on May 13,
1977.
On April 1, 1978, P.D. No. 1341 was issued by then President Ferdinand E. Marcos, CONVERTING THE PHILIPPINE COLLEGE OF
COMMERCE INTO A POLYTECHNIC UNIVERSITY, DEFINING ITS OBJECTIVES, ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE AND FUNCTIONS, AND
EXPANDING ITS CURRICULAR OFFERINGS.
Mateo continued as the head of the new University. On April 3, 1979, he was appointed Acting President and on March 28, 1980,
as President for a term of six (6) years.
On July 11, 1980, the Circuit Criminal Court of Manila rendered judgment acquitting petitioner of the charges against him. The
dispositive portion of the decision reads:
WHEREFORE, the Court finds the accused, Isabelo T. Crisostomo, not guilty of the violations charged in all these three cases and hereby
acquits him therefrom, with costs de oficio. The bail bonds filed by said accused for his provisional liberty are hereby cancelled and
released.
Pursuant to the provisions of Section 13, R.A. No. 3019, as amended, otherwise known as The Anti -Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, and
under which the accused has been suspended by this Court in an Order dated October 22, 1976, said accused is hereby ordered
reinstated to the position of President of the Philippine College of Commerce, now known as the Polytechnic University of the
Philippines, from which he has been suspended. By virtue of said reinstatement, he is entitled to receive the salaries and other benefits
which he failed to receive during suspension, unless in the meantime administrative proceedings have been filed against him.
The bail bonds filed by the accused for his provisional liberty in these cases are hereby cancelled and released.
SO ORDERED.
The cases filed before the Tanodbayan (now the Ombudsman) were likewise dismissed on August 8, 1991 on the ground that they
had become moot and academic. On the other hand, the administrative cases were dismissed for failure of the complainants to
prosecute them.
On February 12, 1992, petitioner filed with the Regional Trial Court a motion for execution of the judgment, particularly the part
ordering his reinstatement to the position of president of the PUP and the payment of his salaries and other benefits during the period of
suspension.
The motion was granted and a partial writ of execution was issued by the trial court on March 6, 1992. On March 26, 1992,
however, President Corazon C. Aquino appointed Dr. Jaime Gellor as acting president of the PUP, following the expiration of the term
of office of Dr. Nemesio Prudente, who had succeeded Dr. Mateo. Petitioner was one of the five nominees considered by the
President of the Philippines for the position.
On April 24, 1992, the Regional Trial Court, through respondent Judge Teresita Dy-Liaco Flores, issued another order, reiterating her
earlier order for the reinstatement of petitioner to the position of PUP president. A writ of execution, ordering the sheriff to implement
the order of reinstatement, was issued.
In his return dated April 28, 1992, the sheriff stated that he had executed the writ by installing petitioner as President of the PUP,
although Dr. Gellor did not vacate the office as he wanted to consult with the President of the Philippines first. This led to a contempt
citation against Dr. Gellor. A hearing was set on May 7, 1992. On May 5, 1992, petitioner also moved to cite Department of Education,
Culture and Sports Secretary Isidro Cario in contempt of court. Petitioner assumed the office of president of the PUP.
On May 18, 1992, therefore, the People of the Philippines filed a petition for certiorari and prohibition (CA G.R. No. 27931),
assailing the two orders and the writs of execution issued by the trial court. It also asked for a temporary restraining order.
On June 25, 1992, the Court of Appeals issued a temporary restraining order, enjoining petitioner to cease and desist from acting
as president of the PUP pursuant to the reinstatement orders of the trial court, and enjoining further proceedings in Criminal Cases Nos.
VI-2329-2331.
On July 15, 1992, the Seventh Division of the Court of Appeals rendered a decision,
[2]
the dispositive portion of which is set forth at
the beginning of this opinion. Said decision set aside the orders and writ of reinstatement issued by the trial court. The payment of
salaries and benefits to petitioner accruing after the conversion of the PCC to the PUP was disallowed. Recovery of salaries and
benefits was limited to those accruing from the time of petitioners suspension until the conversion of the PCC to the PUP. The case was
remanded to the trial court for a determination of the amounts due and payable to petitioner.
Hence this petition. Petitioner argues that P.D. No. 1341, which converted the PCC into the PUP, did not abolish the PCC. He
contends that if the law had intended the PCC to lose its existence, it would have specified that the PCC was being abolished rather
than converted and that if the PUP was intended to be a new institution, the law would have said it was being created. Petitioner
claims that the PUP is merely a continuation of the existence of the PCC, and, hence, he could be reinstated to his former position as
president.
In part the contention is well taken, but, as will presently be explained, reinstatement is no longer possible because of the
promulgation of P.D. No. 1437 by the President of the Philippines on June 10, 1978.
P.D. No. 1341 did not abolish, but only changed, the former Philippine College of Commerce into what is now the Polytechnic
University of the Philippines, in the same way that earlier in 1952, R.A. No. 778 had converted what was then the Philippine School of
Commerce into the Philippine College of Commerce. What took place was a change in academic status of the educational
institution, not in its corporate life. Hence the change in its name, the expansion of its curricular offerings, and the changes in its
structure and organization.
As petitioner correctly points out, when the purpose is to abolish a department or an office or an organization and to replace it
with another one, the lawmaking authority says so. He cites the following examples:
E.O. No. 709:
1. There is hereby created a Ministry of Trade and Industry, hereinafter referred to as the Ministry. The existing Ministry of Trade
established pursuant to Presidential Decree No. 721 as amended, and the existing Ministry established pursuant to Presidential Decree
No. 488 as amended, are abolished together with their services, bureaus and similar agencies, regional offices, and all other entities
under their supervision and control. . . .
E.O. No. 710:
1. There is hereby created a Ministry of Public Works and Highways, hereinafter referred to as the Ministry. The existing Ministry of
Public Works established pursuant to Executive Order No. 546 as amended, and the existing Ministry of Public Highways established
pursuant to Presidential Decree No. 458 as amended, are abolished together with their services, bureaus and similar agencies, regional
offices, and all other entities within their supervision and control. . . .
R.A. No. 6975:
13. Creation and Composition. - A National Police Commission, hereinafter referred to as the Commission, is hereby created for the
purpose of effectively discharging the functions prescribed in the Constitution and provided in this Act. The Commission shall be a
collegial body within the Department. It shall be composed of a Chairman and four (4) regular commissioners, one (1) of whom shall
be designated as Vice-Chairman by the President. The Secretary of the Department shall be the ex-officio Chairman of the
Commission, while the Vice-Chairman shall act as the executive officer of the Commission.
xxx xxx xxx
90. Status of Present NAPOLCOM, PC-INP. - Upon the effectivity of this Act, the present National Police Commission, and the
Philippine Constabulary-Integrated National Police shall cease to exist. The Philippine Constabulary, which is the nucleus of the
integrated Philippine Constabulary-Integrated National Police, shall cease to be a major service of the Armed Forces of the
Philippines. The Integrated National Police, which is the civilian component of the Philippine Constabulary-Integrated National Police,
shall cease to be the national police force and in lieu thereof, a new police force shall be established and constituted pursuant to this
Act.
In contrast, P.D. No. 1341, provides:
1. The present Philippine College of Commerce is hereby converted into a university to be known as the Polytechnic University of
the Philippines, hereinafter referred to in this Decree as the University.
As already noted, R.A. No. 778 earlier provided:
1. The present Philippine School of Commerce, located in the City of Manila, Philippines, is hereby granted full college status and
converted into the Philippine College of Commerce, which will offer not only its present one-year and two-year vocational commercial
curricula, the latter leading to the titles of Associate in Business Education and/or Associate in Commerce, but also four-year courses
leading to the degrees of Bachelor of Science in Business in Education and Bachelor of Science in Commerce, and five-year courses
leading to the degrees of Master of Arts in Business Education and Master of Arts in Commerce, respectively.
The appellate court ruled, however, that the PUP and the PCC are not one and the same institution but two different entiti es
and that since petitioner Crisostomos term was coterminous with the legal existence of the PCC, petitioners term expired upon the
abolition of the PCC. In reaching this conclusion, the Court of Appeals took into account the following:
a) After respondent Crisostomos suspension, P.D. No. 1341 (entitled CONVERTING THE PHILIPPINE COLLEGE OF COMMERCE INTO A
POLYTECHNIC UNIVERSITY, DEFINING ITS OBJECTIVES, ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE AND FUNCTIONS, AND EXPANDING ITS CURRICULAR
OFFERINGS) was issued on April 1, 1978. This decree explicitly provides that PUPs objectives and purposes cover not only PCCs
offering of programs in the field of commerce and business administration but also programs in other polytechnic areas and in
other fields such as agriculture, arts and trades and fisheries . . . (section 2). Being a university, PUP was conceived as a bigger
institution absorbing, merging and integrating the entire PCC and other national schools as may be transferred to this new state
university.
b) The manner of selection and appointment of the university head is substantially different from that provided by the PCC
Charter. The PUP President shall be appointed by the President of the Philippines upon recommendation of the Secretary of
Education and Culture after consultation with the University Board of Regents (section 4, P.D. 1341). The President of PCC, on the
other hand, was appointed by the President of the Philippines upon recommendation of the Board of Trustees (Section 4, R.A. 778).
c) The composition of the new universitys Board of Regents is likewise different from that of the PCC Board of Trustees (whi ch included
the chairman of the Senate Committee on Education and the chairman of the House Committee on Education, the President of the
PCC Alumni Association as well as the President of the Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines). Whereas, among others, the NEDA
Director-General, the Secretary of Industry and the Secretary of Labor are members of the PUP Board of Regents. (Section 6, P.D.
1341).
d) The decree moreover transferred to the new university all the properties including equipment and facilities:
. . . owned by the Philippine College of Commerce and such other National Schools as may be integrated . . . including
their obligations and appropriations . . . (Sec. 12; Italics supplied).
[3]

But these are hardly indicia of an intent to abolish an existing institution and to create a new one. New course offerings can be
added to the curriculum of a school without affecting its legal existence. Nor will changes in its existing structure and organization
bring about its abolition and the creation of a new one. Only an express declaration to that effect by the lawmaking authority will.
The Court of Appeals also cites the provision of P.D. No. 1341 as allegedly implying the abolition of the PCC and the creation of a
new one the PUP in its stead:
12. All parcels of land, buildings, equipment and facilities owned by the Philippine College of Commerce and such other national
schools as may be integrated by virtue of this decree, including their obligations and appropriations thereof, shall stand transferred to
the Polytechnic University of the Philippines, provided, however, that said national schools shall continue to receive their corresponding
shares from the special education fund of the municipal/provincial/city government concerned as are now enjoyed by them in
accordance with existing laws and/or decrees.
The law does not state that the lands, buildings and equipment owned by the PCC were being transferred to the PUP but only
that they stand transferred to it. Stand transferred simply means, for example, that lands transferred to the PCC were to be
understood as transferred to the PUP as the new name of the institution.
But the reinstatement of petitioner to the position of president of the PUP could not be ordered by the trial court because on June
10, 1978, P.D. No. 1437 had been promulgated fixing the term of office of presidents of state universities and colleges at six (6) years,
renewable for another term of six (6) years, and authorizing the President of the Philippines to terminate the terms of incumbents who
were not reappointed. P.D. No. 1437 provides:
6. The head of the university or college shall be known as the President of the university or college. He shall be qualified for the
position and appointed for a term of six (6) years by the President of the Philippines upon recommendation of the Secretary of
Education and Culture after consulting with the Board which may be renewed for another term upon recommendation of the
Secretary of Education and Culture after consulting the Board. In case of vacancy by reason of death, absence or resignation, the
Secretary of Education and Culture shall have the authority to designate an officer in charge of the college or university pending the
appointment of the President.
The powers and duties of the President of the university or college, in addition to those specifically provided for in this Decree shall be
those usually pertaining to the office of the president of a university or college.
7. The incumbent president of a chartered state college or university whose term may be terminated according to this Decree, shall
be entitled to full retirement benefits: provided that he has served the government for at least twenty (20) years; and provided, further
that in case the number of years served is less than 20 years, he shall be entitled to one month pay for every year of service.
In this case, Dr. Pablo T. Mateo Jr., who had been acting president of the university since April 3, 1979, was appointed president of
PUP for a term of six (6) years on March 28, 1980, with the result that petitioners term was cut short. In accordance with 7 of the law,
therefore, petitioner became entitled only to retirement benefits or the payment of separation pay. Petitioner must have recognized
this fact, that is why in 1992 he asked then President Aquino to consider him for appointment to the same position after it had become
vacant in consequence of the retirement of Dr. Prudente.
WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of Appeals is MODIFIED by SETTING ASIDE the questioned orders of the Regional Trial Court
directing the reinstatement of the petitioner Isabelo T. Crisostomo to the position of president of the Polytechnic University of the
Philippines and the payment to him of salaries and benefits which he failed to receive during his suspension in so far as such payment
would include salaries accruing after March 28, 1980 when petitioner Crisostomos term was terminated. Further proceedings in
accordance with this decision may be taken by the trial court to determine the amount due and payable to petitioner by the
university up to March 28, 1980.
SO ORDERED.
Regalado, (Chairman), Romero, and Torres, Jr., JJ., concur.
Puno, J., took no part. Counsel for petitioner is his brother.

D E C I S I O N
DE LEON, JR., J .:
Before us is a petition for prohibition and declaratory relief seeking the annulment of a status quo order
[1]
dated September 29, 1998 issued by the public
respondent Commission on the Settlement of Land Problems (COSLAP, for brevity) in COSLAP Case No. 98-253.
The facts are:
The property being fought over by the parties is a 10.36-hectare property in Baguio City called Dominican Hills, formerly registered in the name of
Diplomat Hills, Inc. It appeared that the property was mortgaged to the United Coconut Planters Bank (UCPB) which eventually foreclosed the mortgage thereon
and acquired the same as highest bidder. On April 11, 1983, it was donated to the Republic of the Philippines by UCPB through its President, Eduardo
Cojuangco. The deed of donation stipulated that Dominican Hills would be utilized for the priority programs, projects, activities in human settlements and
economic development and governmental purposes of the Ministry of HSECOND DIVISION
[G.R. No. 106296. July 5, 1996]
ISABELO T. CRISOSTOMO, petitioner, vs. THE COURT OF APPEALS and the PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents.
*

D E C I S I O N
MENDOZA, J.:
This is a petition to review the decision of the Court of Appeals dated July 15, 1992, the dispositive portion of which reads:
WHEREFORE, the present petition is partially granted. The questioned Orders and writs directing (1) reinstatement of respondent
Isabelo T. Crisostomo to the position of President of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines, and (2) payment of salaries and
benefits which said respondent failed to receive during his suspension insofar as such payment includes those accruing after the
abolition of the PCC and its transfer to the PUP, are hereby set aside. Accordingly, further proceedings consistent with this decision
may be taken by the court a quo to determine the correct amounts due and payable to said respondent by the said university.
The background of this case is as follows:
Petitioner Isabelo Crisostomo was President of the Philippine College of Commerce (PCC), having been appointed to that
position by the President of the Philippines on July 17, 1974.
During his incumbency as president of the PCC, two administrative cases were filed against petitioner for illegal use of
government vehicles, misappropriation of construction materials belonging to the college, oppression and harassment, grave
misconduct, nepotism and dishonesty. The administrative cases, which were filed with the Office of the President, were subsequently
referred to the Office of the Solicitor General for investigation.
Charges of violations of R.A. No. 3019, 3 (e) and R.A. No. 992, 20-21 and R.A. No. 733, 14 were likewise filed against him with
the Office of Tanodbayan.
On June 14, 1976, three (3) informations for violation of Sec. 3 (e) of the Anti -Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (R.A. No. 3019, as
amended) were filed against him. The informations alleged that he appropriated for himself a bahay kubo, which was intended for
the College, and construction materials worth P250,000.00, more or less. Petitioner was also accused of using a driver of the College as
his personal and family driver.
[1]

On October 22, 1976, petitioner was preventively suspended from office pursuant to R.A. No. 3019, 13, as amended. In his
place Dr. Pablo T. Mateo, Jr. was designated as officer-in-charge on November 10, 1976, and then as Acting President on May 13,
1977.
On April 1, 1978, P.D. No. 1341 was issued by then President Ferdinand E. Marcos, CONVERTING THE PHILIPPINE COLLEGE OF
COMMERCE INTO A POLYTECHNIC UNIVERSITY, DEFINING ITS OBJECTIVES, ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE AND FUNCTIONS, AND
EXPANDING ITS CURRICULAR OFFERINGS.
Mateo continued as the head of the new University. On April 3, 1979, he was appointed Acting President and on March 28, 1980,
as President for a term of six (6) years.
On July 11, 1980, the Circuit Criminal Court of Manila rendered judgment acquitting petitioner of the charges against him. The
dispositive portion of the decision reads:
WHEREFORE, the Court finds the accused, Isabelo T. Crisostomo, not guilty of the violations charged in all these three cases and hereby
acquits him therefrom, with costs de oficio. The bail bonds filed by said accused for his provisional liberty are hereby cancelled and
released.
Pursuant to the provisions of Section 13, R.A. No. 3019, as amended, otherwise known as The Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, and
under which the accused has been suspended by this Court in an Order dated October 22, 1976, said accused is hereby ordered
reinstated to the position of President of the Philippine College of Commerce, now known as the Polytechnic University of the
Philippines, from which he has been suspended. By virtue of said reinstatement, he is entitled to receive the salaries and other benefits
which he failed to receive during suspension, unless in the meantime administrative proceedings have been filed against him.
The bail bonds filed by the accused for his provisional liberty in these cases are hereby cancelled and released.
SO ORDERED.
The cases filed before the Tanodbayan (now the Ombudsman) were likewise dismissed on August 8, 1991 on the ground that they
had become moot and academic. On the other hand, the administrative cases were dismissed for failure of the complainants to
prosecute them.
On February 12, 1992, petitioner filed with the Regional Trial Court a motion for execution of the judgment, particularly the part
ordering his reinstatement to the position of president of the PUP and the payment of his salaries and other benefits during the period of
suspension.
The motion was granted and a partial writ of execution was issued by the trial court on March 6, 1992. On March 26, 1992,
however, President Corazon C. Aquino appointed Dr. Jaime Gellor as acting president of the PUP, following the expiration of the term
of office of Dr. Nemesio Prudente, who had succeeded Dr. Mateo. Petitioner was one of the five nominees considered by the
President of the Philippines for the position.
On April 24, 1992, the Regional Trial Court, through respondent Judge Teresita Dy-Liaco Flores, issued another order, reiterating her
earlier order for the reinstatement of petitioner to the position of PUP president. A writ of execution, ordering the sheriff to implement
the order of reinstatement, was issued.
In his return dated April 28, 1992, the sheriff stated that he had executed the writ by installing petitioner as President of the PUP,
although Dr. Gellor did not vacate the office as he wanted to consult with the President of the Philippines first. This led to a contempt
citation against Dr. Gellor. A hearing was set on May 7, 1992. On May 5, 1992, petitioner also moved to cite Department of Education,
Culture and Sports Secretary Isidro Cario in contempt of court. Petitioner assumed the office of president of the PUP.
On May 18, 1992, therefore, the People of the Philippines filed a petition for certiorari and prohibition (CA G.R. No. 27931),
assailing the two orders and the writs of execution issued by the trial court. It also asked for a temporary restraining order.
On June 25, 1992, the Court of Appeals issued a temporary restraining order, enjoining petitioner to cease and desist from acting
as president of the PUP pursuant to the reinstatement orders of the trial court, and enjoining further proceedings in Criminal Cases Nos.
VI-2329-2331.
On July 15, 1992, the Seventh Division of the Court of Appeals rendered a decision,
[2]
the dispositive portion of which is set forth at
the beginning of this opinion. Said decision set aside the orders and writ of reinstatement issued by the trial court. The payment of
salaries and benefits to petitioner accruing after the conversion of the PCC to the PUP was disallowed. Recovery of salaries and
benefits was limited to those accruing from the time of petitioners suspension until the conversion of the PCC to the PUP. The case was
remanded to the trial court for a determination of the amounts due and payable to petitioner.
Hence this petition. Petitioner argues that P.D. No. 1341, which converted the PCC into the PUP, did not abolish the PCC. He
contends that if the law had intended the PCC to lose its existence, it would have specified that the PCC was being abolished rather
than converted and that if the PUP was intended to be a new institution, the law would have said it was being created. Petitioner
claims that the PUP is merely a continuation of the existence of the PCC, and, hence, he could be reinstated to his former position as
president.
In part the contention is well taken, but, as will presently be explained, reinstatement is no longer possible because of the
promulgation of P.D. No. 1437 by the President of the Philippines on June 10, 1978.
P.D. No. 1341 did not abolish, but only changed, the former Philippine College of Commerce into what is now the Polytechnic
University of the Philippines, in the same way that earlier in 1952, R.A. No. 778 had converted what was then the Philippine School of
Commerce into the Philippine College of Commerce. What took place was a change in academic status of the educational
institution, not in its corporate life. Hence the change in its name, the expansion of its curricular offerings, and the changes in its
structure and organization.
As petitioner correctly points out, when the purpose is to abolish a department or an office or an organization and to replace it
with another one, the lawmaking authority says so. He cites the following examples:
E.O. No. 709:
1. There is hereby created a Ministry of Trade and Industry, hereinafter referred to as the Ministry. The existing Ministry of Trade
established pursuant to Presidential Decree No. 721 as amended, and the existing Ministry established pursuant to Presidential Decree
No. 488 as amended, are abolished together with their services, bureaus and similar agencies, regional offices, and all other entities
under their supervision and control. . . .
E.O. No. 710:
1. There is hereby created a Ministry of Public Works and Highways, hereinafter referred to as the Ministry. The existing Ministry of
Public Works established pursuant to Executive Order No. 546 as amended, and the existing Ministry of Public Highways establi shed
pursuant to Presidential Decree No. 458 as amended, are abolished together with their services, bureaus and similar agencies, regional
offices, and all other entities within their supervision and control. . . .
R.A. No. 6975:
13. Creation and Composition. - A National Police Commission, hereinafter referred to as the Commission, is hereby created for the
purpose of effectively discharging the functions prescribed in the Constitution and provided in this Act. The Commission shall be a
collegial body within the Department. It shall be composed of a Chairman and four (4) regular commissioners, one (1) of whom shall
be designated as Vice-Chairman by the President. The Secretary of the Department shall be the ex-officio Chairman of the
Commission, while the Vice-Chairman shall act as the executive officer of the Commission.
xxx xxx xxx
90. Status of Present NAPOLCOM, PC-INP. - Upon the effectivity of this Act, the present National Police Commission, and the
Philippine Constabulary-Integrated National Police shall cease to exist. The Philippine Constabulary, which is the nucleus of the
integrated Philippine Constabulary-Integrated National Police, shall cease to be a major service of the Armed Forces of the
Philippines. The Integrated National Police, which is the civilian component of the Philippine Constabulary-Integrated National Police,
shall cease to be the national police force and in lieu thereof, a new police force shall be established and constituted pursuant to this
Act.
In contrast, P.D. No. 1341, provides:
1. The present Philippine College of Commerce is hereby converted into a university to be known as the Polytechnic University of
the Philippines, hereinafter referred to in this Decree as the University.
As already noted, R.A. No. 778 earlier provided:
1. The present Philippine School of Commerce, located in the City of Manila, Philippines, is hereby granted full college status and
converted into the Philippine College of Commerce, which will offer not only its present one-year and two-year vocational commercial
curricula, the latter leading to the titles of Associate in Business Education and/or Associate in Commerce, but also four-year courses
leading to the degrees of Bachelor of Science in Business in Education and Bachelor of Science in Commerce, and five-year courses
leading to the degrees of Master of Arts in Business Education and Master of Arts in Commerce, respectively.
The appellate court ruled, however, that the PUP and the PCC are not one and the same institution but two different entiti es
and that since petitioner Crisostomos term was coterminous with the legal existence of the PCC, petitioners term expired upon the
abolition of the PCC. In reaching this conclusion, the Court of Appeals took into account the following:
a) After respondent Crisostomos suspension, P.D. No. 1341 (entitled CONVERTING THE PHILIPPINE COLLEGE OF COMMERCE INTO A
POLYTECHNIC UNIVERSITY, DEFINING ITS OBJECTIVES, ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE AND FUNCTIONS, AND EXPANDING ITS CURRICULAR
OFFERINGS) was issued on April 1, 1978. This decree explicitly provides that PUPs objectives and purposes cover not only PCCs
offering of programs in the field of commerce and business administration but also programs in other polytechnic areas and in
other fields such as agriculture, arts and trades and fisheries . . . (section 2). Being a university, PUP was conceived as a bigger
institution absorbing, merging and integrating the entire PCC and other national schools as may be transferred to this new state
university.
b) The manner of selection and appointment of the university head is substantially different from that provided by the PCC
Charter. The PUP President shall be appointed by the President of the Philippines upon recommendation of the Secretary of
Education and Culture after consultation with the University Board of Regents (section 4, P.D. 1341). The President of PCC, on the
other hand, was appointed by the President of the Philippines upon recommendation of the Board of Trustees (Section 4, R.A. 778).
c) The composition of the new universitys Board of Regents is likewise different from that of the PCC Board of Trustees (which included
the chairman of the Senate Committee on Education and the chairman of the House Committee on Education, the President of the
PCC Alumni Association as well as the President of the Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines). Whereas, among others, the NEDA
Director-General, the Secretary of Industry and the Secretary of Labor are members of the PUP Board of Regents. (Section 6, P.D.
1341).
d) The decree moreover transferred to the new university all the properties including equipment and facilities:
. . . owned by the Philippine College of Commerce and such other National Schools as may be integrated . . . including
their obligations and appropriations . . . (Sec. 12; Italics supplied).
[3]

But these are hardly indicia of an intent to abolish an existing institution and to create a new one. New course offerings can be
added to the curriculum of a school without affecting its legal existence. Nor will changes in its existing structure and organization
bring about its abolition and the creation of a new one. Only an express declaration to that effect by the lawmaking authority will.
The Court of Appeals also cites the provision of P.D. No. 1341 as allegedly implying the abolition of the PCC and the creation of a
new one the PUP in its stead:
12. All parcels of land, buildings, equipment and facilities owned by the Philippine College of Commerce and such other national
schools as may be integrated by virtue of this decree, including their obligations and appropriations thereof, shall stand transferred to
the Polytechnic University of the Philippines, provided, however, that said national schools shall continue to receive their corresponding
shares from the special education fund of the municipal/provincial/city government concerned as are now enjoyed by them in
accordance with existing laws and/or decrees.
The law does not state that the lands, buildings and equipment owned by the PCC were being transferred to the PUP but only
that they stand transferred to it. Stand transferred simply means, for example, that lands transferred to the PCC were to be
understood as transferred to the PUP as the new name of the institution.
But the reinstatement of petitioner to the position of president of the PUP could not be ordered by the trial court because on June
10, 1978, P.D. No. 1437 had been promulgated fixing the term of office of presidents of state universities and colleges at six (6) years,
renewable for another term of six (6) years, and authorizing the President of the Philippines to terminate the terms of incumbents who
were not reappointed. P.D. No. 1437 provides:
6. The head of the university or college shall be known as the President of the university or college. He shall be qualified for the
position and appointed for a term of six (6) years by the President of the Philippines upon recommendation of the Secretary of
Education and Culture after consulting with the Board which may be renewed for another term upon recommendation of the
Secretary of Education and Culture after consulting the Board. In case of vacancy by reason of death, absence or resignation, the
Secretary of Education and Culture shall have the authority to designate an officer in charge of the college or university pending the
appointment of the President.
The powers and duties of the President of the university or college, in addition to those specifically provided for in this Decree shall be
those usually pertaining to the office of the president of a university or college.
7. The incumbent president of a chartered state college or university whose term may be terminated according to this Decree, shall
be entitled to full retirement benefits: provided that he has served the government for at least twenty (20) years; and provided, further
that in case the number of years served is less than 20 years, he shall be entitled to one month pay for every year of service.
In this case, Dr. Pablo T. Mateo Jr., who had been acting president of the university since April 3, 1979, was appointed president of
PUP for a term of six (6) years on March 28, 1980, with the result that petitioners term was cut short. In accordance with 7 of the law,
therefore, petitioner became entitled only to retirement benefits or the payment of separation pay. Petitioner must have recognized
this fact, that is why in 1992 he asked then President Aquino to consider him for appointment to the same position after it had become
vacant in consequence of the retirement of Dr. Prudente.
WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of Appeals is MODIFIED by SETTING ASIDE the questioned orders of the Regional Trial Court
directing the reinstatement of the petitioner Isabelo T. Crisostomo to the position of president of the Polytechnic University of the
Philippines and the payment to him of salaries and benefits which he failed to receive during his suspension in so far as such payment
would include salaries accruing after March 28, 1980 when petitioner Crisostomos term was terminated. Further proceedings in
accordance with this decision may be taken by the trial court to determine the amount due and payable to petitioner by the
university up to March 28, 1980.
SO ORDERED.
Regalado, (Chairman), Romero, and Torres, Jr., JJ., concur.
Puno, J., took no part. Counsel for petitioner is his brother.

Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-57883 March 12, 1982
GUALBERTO J. DE LA LLANA Presiding Judge, Branch II of the City Court of Olongapo, ESTANISLAO L. CESA, JR., FIDELA Y. VARGAS,
BENJAMIN C. ESCOLANGO, JUANITO C. ATIENZA, MANUEL REYES ROSAPAPAN, JR., VIRGILIO E. ACIERTO, and PORFIRIO AGUILLON
AGUILA, petitioners,
vs.
MANUEL ALBA, Minister of Budget, FRANCISCO TANTUICO, Chairman, Commission on Audit, and RICARDO PUNO, Minister of
Justice, Respondents.

FERNANDO, C.J.:
This Court, pursuant to its grave responsibility of passing upon the validity of any executive or legislative act in an appropriate cases,
has to resolve the crucial issue of the constitutionality of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, entitled "An act reorganizing the Judiciary,
Appropriating Funds Therefor and for Other Purposes." The task of judicial review, aptly characterized as exacting and delicate, is never
more so than when a conceded legislative power, that of judicial reorganization,
1
may possibly collide with the time-honored principle
of the independence of the judiciary
2
as protected and safeguarded by this constitutional provision: "The Members of the Supreme
Court and judges of inferior courts shall hold office during good behavior until they reach the age of seventy years or become
incapacitated to discharge the duties of their office. The Supreme Court shall have the power to discipline judges of inferior courts and,
by a vote of at least eight Members, order their dismissal."
3
For the assailed legislation mandates that Justices and judges of inferior
courts from the Court of Appeals to municipal circuit courts, except the occupants of the Sandiganbayan and the Court of Tax
Appeals, unless appointed to the inferior courts established by such Act, would be considered separated from the judiciary. It is the
termination of their incumbency that for petitioners justifies a suit of this character, it being alleged that thereby the security of tenure
provision of the Constitution has been ignored and disregarded,
That is the fundamental issue raised in this proceeding, erroneously entitled Petition for Declaratory Relief and/or for
Prohibition
4
considered by this Court as an action for prohibited petition, seeking to enjoin respondent Minister of the Budget,
respondent Chairman of the Commission on Audit, and respondent Minister of Justice from taking any action implementing Batas
PambansaBlg. 129. Petitioners
5
sought to bolster their claim by imputing lack of good faith in its enactment and characterizing as an
undue delegation of legislative power to the President his authority to fix the compensation and allowances of the Justices and judges
thereafter appointed and the determination of the date when the reorganization shall be deemed completed. In the very
comprehensive and scholarly Answer of Solicitor General Estelito P. Mendoza,
6
it was pointed out that there is no valid justification for
the attack on the constitutionality of this statute, it being a legitimate exercise of the power vested in the BatasangPambansa to
reorganize the judiciary, the allegations of absence of good faith as well as the attack on the independence of the judiciary being
unwarranted and devoid of any support in law. A Supplemental Answer was likewise filed on October 8, 1981, followed by a Reply of
petitioners on October 13. After the hearing in the morning and afternoon of October 15, in which not only petitioners and respondents
were heard through counsel but also the amici curiae,
7
and thereafter submission of the minutes of the proceeding on the debate on
Batas PambansaBlg. 129, this petition was deemed submitted for decision.
The importance of the crucial question raised called for intensive and rigorous study of all the legal aspects of the case. After such
exhaustive deliberation in several sessions, the exchange of views being supplemented by memoranda from the members of the
Court, it is our opinion and so hold that Batas PambansaBlg. 129 is not unconstitutional.
1. The argument as to the lack of standing of petitioners is easily resolved. As far as Judge de la Llana is concerned, he certainly falls
within the principle set forth in Justice Laurel's opinion in People v. Vera.
8
Thus: "The unchallenged rule is that the person who impugns
the validity of a statute must have a personal and substantial interest in the case such that he has sustained, or will sustain, direct injury
as a result of its enforcement."
9
The other petitioners as members of the bar and officers of the court cannot be considered as devoid
of "any personal and substantial interest" on the matter. There is relevance to this excerpt from a separate opinion in Aquino, Jr. v.
Commission on Elections:
10
"Then there is the attack on the standing of petitioners, as vindicating at most what they consider a public
right and not protecting their rights as individuals. This is to conjure the specter of the public right dogma as an inhibition to parties
intent on keeping public officials staying on the path of constitutionalism. As was so well put by Jaffe: 'The protection of private rights is
an essential constituent of public interest and, conversely, without a well-ordered state there could be no enforcement of private
rights. Private and public interests are, both in substantive and procedural sense, aspects of the totality of the legal order.' Moreover,
petitioners have convincingly shown that in their capacity as taxpayers, their standing to sue has been amply demonstrated. There
would be a retreat from the liberal approach followed in Pascual v. Secretary of Public Works,foreshadowed by the very decision
of People v. Vera where the doctrine was first fully discussed, if we act differently now. I do not think we are prepared to take that step.
Respondents, however, would hark back to the American Supreme Court doctrine in Mellon v. Frothingham with their claim that what
petitioners possess 'is an interest which is shared in common by other people and is comparatively so minute and indeterminate as to
afford any basis and assurance that the judicial process can act on it.' That is to speak in the language of a bygone era even in the
United States. For as Chief Justice Warren clearly pointed out in the later case of Flast v. Cohen, the barrier thus set up if not breached
has definitely been lowered."
11

2. The imputation of arbitrariness to the legislative body in the enactment of Batas PambansaBlg. 129 to demonstrate lack of good fai th
does manifest violence to the facts. Petitioners should have exercised greater care in informing themselves as to its antecedents. They
had laid themselves open to the accusation of reckless disregard for the truth, On August 7, 1980, a Presidential Committee on Judicial
Reorganization was organized.
12
This Executive Order was later amended by Executive Order No. 619-A., dated September 5 of that
year. It clearly specified the task assigned to it: "1. The Committee shall formulate plans on the reorganization of the Judi ciary which
shall be submitted within seventy (70) days from August 7, 1980 to provide the President sufficient options for the reorganization of the
entire Judiciary which shall embrace all lower courts, including the Court of Appeals, the Courts of First Instance, the City and Municipal
Courts, and all Special Courts, but excluding the Sandigan Bayan."
13
On October 17, 1980, a Report was submitted by such Committee
on Judicial Reorganization. It began with this paragraph: "The Committee on Judicial Reorganization has the honor to submit the
following Report. It expresses at the outset its appreciation for the opportunity accorded it to study ways and means for what today is a
basic and urgent need, nothing less than the restructuring of the judicial system. There are problems, both grave and pressing, that call
for remedial measures. The felt necessities of the time, to borrow a phrase from Holmes, admit of no delay, for if no step be taken and
at the earliest opportunity, it is not too much to say that the people's faith in the administration of justice could be shaken. It is
imperative that there be a greater efficiency in the disposition of cases and that litigants, especially those of modest means much
more so, the poorest and the humblest can vindicate their rights in an expeditious and inexpensive manner. The rectitude and the
fairness in the way the courts operate must be manifest to all members of the community and particularly to those whose interests are
affected by the exercise of their functions. It is to that task that the Committee addresses itself and hopes that the plans submitted
could be a starting point for an institutional reform in the Philippine judiciary. The experience of the Supreme Court, which since 1973
has been empowered to supervise inferior courts, from the Court of Appeals to the municipal courts, has proven that reliance on
improved court management as well as training of judges for more efficient administration does not suffice. I hence, to repeat, there is
need for a major reform in the judicial so stem it is worth noting that it will be the first of its kind since the Judiciary Act became effective
on June 16, 1901."
14
I t went to say: "I t does not admit of doubt that the last two decades of this century are likely to be attended with
problems of even greater complexity and delicacy. New social interests are pressing for recognition in the courts. Groups long
inarticulate, primarily those economically underprivileged, have found legal spokesmen and are asserting grievances previousl y
ignored. Fortunately, the judicially has not proved inattentive. Its task has thus become even more formidable. For so much grist is
added to the mills of justice. Moreover, they are likewise to be quite novel. The need for an innovative approach is thus apparent. The
national leadership, as is well-known, has been constantly on the search for solutions that will prove to be both acceptable and
satisfactory. Only thus may there be continued national progress."
15
After which comes: "To be less abstract, the thrust is on
development. That has been repeatedly stressed and rightly so. All efforts are geared to its realization. Nor, unlike in the past, was it
to b "considered as simply the movement towards economic progress and growth measured in terms of sustained increases in per
capita income and Gross National Product (GNP).
16
For the New Society, its implication goes further than economic advance,
extending to "the sharing, or more appropriately, the democratization of social and economic opportunities, the substantiation of the
true meaning of social justice."
17
This process of modernization and change compels the government to extend its field of activity and
its scope of operations. The efforts towards reducing the gap between the wealthy and the poor elements in the nation call for more
regulatory legislation. That way the social justice and protection to labor mandates of the Constitution could be effectively
implemented."
18
There is likelihood then "that some measures deemed inimical by interests adversely affected would be challenged in
court on grounds of validity. Even if the question does not go that far, suits may be filed concerning their interpretation and
application. ... There could be pleas for injunction or restraining orders. Lack of success of such moves would not, even so, result in their
prompt final disposition. Thus delay in the execution of the policies embodied in law could thus be reasonably expected. That is not
conducive to progress in development."
19
For, as mentioned in such Report, equally of vital concern is the problem of clogged
dockets, which "as is well known, is one of the utmost gravity. Notwithstanding the most determined efforts exerted by the Supreme
Court, through the leadership of both retired Chief Justice QuerubeMakalintal and the late Chief Justice Fred Ruiz Castro, from the time
supervision of the courts was vested in it under the 1973 Constitution, the trend towards more and more cases has continued."
20
It is
understandable why. With the accelerated economic development, the growth of population, the increasing urbanization, and other
similar factors, the judiciary is called upon much oftener to resolve controversies. Thus confronted with what appears to be a crisis
situation that calls for a remedy, the BatasangPambansa had no choice. It had to act, before the ailment became even worse. Time
was of the essence, and yet it did not hesitate to be duly mindful, as it ought to be, of the extent of its coverage before enacting Batas
PambansaBlg. 129.
3. There is no denying, therefore, the need for "institutional reforms," characterized in the Report as "both pressi ng and urgent."
21
It is
worth noting, likewise, as therein pointed out, that a major reorganization of such scope, if it were to take place, would be the most
thorough after four generations.
22
The reference was to the basic Judiciary Act generations .enacted in June of 1901,
23
amended in a
significant way, only twice previous to the Commonwealth. There was, of course, the creation of the Court of Appeals in 1935, originally
composed "of a Presiding Judge and ten appellate Judges, who shall be appointed by the President of the Philippines, with the
consent of the Commission on Appointments of the National Assembly,
24
It could "sit en banc, but it may sit in two divisions, one of six
and another of five Judges, to transact business, and the two divisions may sit at the same time."
25
Two years after the establishment of
independence of the Republic of the Philippines, the Judiciary Act of 1948
26
was passed. It continued the existing system of regular
inferior courts, namely, the Court of Appeals, Courts of First Instance,
27
the Municipal Courts, at present the City Courts, and the Justice
of the Peace Courts, now the Municipal Circuit Courts and Municipal Courts. The membership of the Court of Appeals has been
continuously increased.
28
Under a 1978 Presidential Decree, there would be forty-five members, a Presiding Justice and forty-four
Associate Justices, with fifteen divisions.
29
Special courts were likewise created. The first was the Court of Tax Appeals in 1954,
30
next
came the Court of Agrarian Relations in 1955,
31
and then in the same year a Court of the Juvenile and Domestic Relations for Manila in
1955,
32
subsequently followed by the creation of two other such courts for Iloilo and Quezon City in 1966.
33
In 1967, Circuit Criminal
Courts were established, with the Judges having the same qualifications, rank, compensation, and privileges as judges of Courts of First
Instance.
34

4. After the submission of such Report, Cabinet Bill No. 42, which later became the basis of Batas PambansaBlg. 129, was introduced.
After setting forth the background as above narrated, its Explanatory Note continues: "Pursuant to the President's instructions, this
proposed legislation has been drafted in accordance with the guidelines of that report with particular attention to certain objectives of
the reorganization, to wit, the attainment of more efficiency in disposal of cases, a reallocation of jurisdiction, and a revision of
procedures which do not tend to the proper meeting out of justice. In consultation with, and upon a consensus of, the governmental
and parliamentary leadership, however, it was felt that some options set forth in the Report be not availed of. Instead of the proposal
to confine the jurisdiction of the intermediate appellate court merely to appellate adjudication, the preference has been opted to
increase rather than diminish its jurisdiction in order to enable it to effectively assist the Supreme Court. This preference has been
translated into one of the innovations in the proposed Bill."
35
In accordance with the parliamentary procedure, the Bill was sponsored
by the Chairman of the Committee on Justice, Human Rights and Good Government to which it was referred. Thereafter, Committee
Report No. 225 was submitted by such Committee to the BatasangPambansa recommending the approval with some amendments. In
the sponsorship speech of Minister Ricardo C. Puno, there was reference to the Presidential Committee on Judicial Reorganization.
Thus: "On October 17, 1980, the Presidential Committee on Judicial Reorganization submitted its report to the President which contained
the 'Proposed Guidelines for Judicial Reorganization.' Cabinet Bill No. 42 was drafted substantially in accordance with the options
presented by these guidelines. Some options set forth in the aforesaid report were not availed of upon consultation with and upon
consensus of the government and parliamentary leadership. Moreover, some amendments to the bill were adopted by the Committee
on Justice, Human Rights and Good Government, to which The bill was referred, following the public hearings on the bill held in
December of 1980. The hearings consisted of dialogues with the distinguished members of the bench and the bar who had submitted
written proposals, suggestions, and position papers on the bill upon the invitation of the Committee on Justice, Human Rights and Good
Government."
36
Stress was laid by the sponsor that the enactment of such Cabinet Bill would, firstly, result in the attainment of more
efficiency in the disposal of cases. Secondly, the improvement in the quality of justice dispensed by the courts is expected as a
necessary consequence of the easing of the court's dockets. Thirdly, the structural changes introduced in the bill, together with the
reallocation of jurisdiction and the revision of the rules of procedure, are designated to suit the court system to the exigencies of the
present day Philippine society, and hopefully, of the foreseeable future."
37
it may be observed that the volume containing the minutes
of the proceedings of the BatasangPambansa show that 590 pages were devoted to its discussion. It is quite obvious that it took
considerable time and effort as well as exhaustive study before the act was signed by the President on August 14, 1981. With such a
background, it becomes quite manifest how lacking in factual basis is the allegation that its enactment is tainted by the vice of
arbitrariness. What appears undoubted and undeniable is the good faith that characterized its enactment from its inception to the
affixing of the Presidential signature.
5. Nothing is better settled in our law than that the abolition of an office within the competence of a legitimate body if done in good
faith suffers from no infirmity. The ponencia of Justice J.B.L. Reyes in Cruz v. Primicias, Jr.
38
reiterated such a doctrine: "We find this point
urged by respondents, to be without merit. No removal or separation of petitioners from the service is here involved, but the validity of
the abolition of their offices. This is a legal issue that is for the Courts to decide. It is well-known rule also that valid abolition of offices is
neither removal nor separation of the incumbents. ... And, of course, if the abolition is void, the incumbent is deemed never to have
ceased to hold office. The preliminary question laid at rest, we pass to the merits of the case. As well-settled as the rule that the
abolition of an office does not amount to an illegal removal of its incumbent is the principle that, in order to be valid, the abolition must
be made in good faith."
39
The above excerpt was quoted with approval in Bendanillo, Sr. v. Provincial Governor,
40
two earlier cases
enunciating a similar doctrine having preceded it.
41
As with the offices in the other branches of the government, so it is with the
judiciary. The test remains whether the abolition is in good faith. As that element is conspicuously present in the enactment of Batas
PambansaBlg. 129, then the lack of merit of this petition becomes even more apparent. The concurring opinion of Justice Laurel
in Zandueta v. De la Costa
42
cannot be any clearer. This is a quo warranto proceeding filed by petitioner, claiming that he, and not
respondent, was entitled to he office of judge of the Fifth Branch of the Court of First Instance of Manila. There was a Judicial
Reorganization Act in 1936,
43
a year after the inauguration of the Commonwealth, amending the Administrative Code to organize
courts of original jurisdiction known as the Courts of First Instance Prior to such statute, petitioner was the incumbent of such branch.
Thereafter, he received an ad interim appointment, this time to the Fourth Judicial District, under the new legislation. Unfortunately for
him, the Commission on Appointments of then National Assembly disapproved the same, with respondent being appointed in his
place. He contested the validity of the Act insofar as it resulted in his being forced to vacate his position This Court did not rule squarely
on the matter. His petition was dismissed on the ground of estoppel. Nonetheless, the separate concurrence of Justice Laurel in the
result reached, to repeat, reaffirms in no uncertain terms the standard of good faith to preclude any doubt as to the aboliti on of an
inferior court, with due recognition of the security of tenure guarantee. Thus: " I am of the opinion that Commonwealth Act No. 145 in
so far as it reorganizes, among other judicial districts, the Ninth Judicial District, and establishes an entirely new distri ct comprising
Manila and the provinces of Rizal and Palawan, is valid and constitutional. This conclusion flows from the fundamental proposition that
the legislature may abolish courts inferior to the Supreme Court and therefore may reorganize them territorially or otherwise thereby
necessitating new appointments and commissions. Section 2, Article VIII of the Constitution vests in the National Assembly the power to
define, prescribe and apportion the jurisdiction of the various courts, subject to certain limitations in the case of the Supreme Court. It is
admitted that section 9 of the same article of the Constitution provides for the security of tenure of all the judges. The principles
embodied in these two sections of the same article of the Constitution must be coordinated and harmonized. A mere enunciation of a
principle will not decide actual cases and controversies of every sort. (Justice Holmes in Lochner vs. New York, 198 U.S., 45; 49 Law. ed;
937)"
44
justice Laurel continued: "I am not insensible to the argument that the National Assembly may abuse its power and move
deliberately to defeat the constitutional provision guaranteeing security of tenure to all judges, But, is this the case? One need not
share the view of Story, Miller and Tucker on the one hand, or the opinion of Cooley, Watson and Baldwin on the other, to realize that
the application of a legal or constitutional principle is necessarily factual and circumstantial and that fixity of principle is the rigidity of
the dead and the unprogressive. I do say, and emphatically, however, that cases may arise where the violation of the constitutional
provision regarding security of tenure is palpable and plain, and that legislative power of reorganization may be sought to cloak an
unconstitutional and evil purpose. When a case of that kind arises, it will be the time to make the hammer fall and heavily. But not until
then. I am satisfied that, as to the particular point here discussed, the purpose was the fulfillment of what was considered a great
public need by the legislative department and that Commonwealth Act No. 145 was not enacted purposely to affect adversely the
tenure of judges or of any particular judge. Under these circumstances, I am for sustaining the power of the legislative department
under the Constitution. To be sure, there was greater necessity for reorganization consequent upon the establishment of the new
government than at the time Acts Nos. 2347 and 4007 were approved by the defunct Philippine Legislature, and although in the case
of these two Acts there was an express provision providing for the vacation by the judges of their offices whereas in the case of
Commonwealth Act No. 145 doubt is engendered by its silence, this doubt should be resolved in favor of the valid exercise of the
legislative power."
45

6. A few more words on the question of abolition. In the above-cited opinion of Justice Laurel in Zandueta, reference was made to Act
No. 2347
46
on the reorganization of the Courts of First Instance and to Act No. 4007
47
on the reorganization of all branches of the
government, including the courts of first instance. In both of them, the then Courts of First Instance were replaced by new courts with
the same appellation. As Justice Laurel pointed out, there was no question as to the fact of abolition. He was equally categorical as to
Commonwealth Act No. 145, where also the system of the courts of first instance was provided for expressly conclusion flowing "from
the fundamental proposition that the legislature may abolish courts inferior to the Supreme Court and theref. It was pointed out by
Justice Laurel that the mere creation of an entirely new district of the same court is valid and constitutional. such ore may reorganize
them territorially or otherwise thereby necessitating new appointments and commissions."
48
The challenged statute creates an
intermediate appellate court,
49
regional trial courts,
50
metropolitan trial courts of the national capital region,
51
and other metropolitan
trial courts,
52
municipal trial courts in cities,
53
as well as in municipalities,
54
and municipal circuit trial courts.
55
There is even less reason
then to doubt the fact that existing inferior courts were abolished. For the BatasangPambansa, the establishment of such new inferior
courts was the appropriate response to the grave and urgent problems that pressed for solution. Certainly, there could be differences
of opinion as to the appropriate remedy. The choice, however, was for the Batasan to make, not for this Court, which deals only with
the question of power. It bears mentioning that in Brillo v. Eage
56
this Court, in an unanimous opinion penned by the late Justice
Diokno, citing Zandueta v. De la Costa, ruled: "La segunda question que el recurrridoplanteaesque la Carta de Tacloban ha abolido el
puesto. Si efectivamente ha sidoabolido el cargo, entonces ha quedadoextinguido el derecho de recurenteaocuparlo y a cobrar el
salariocorrespodiente. McCulley vs. State, 46 LRA, 567. El derecho de unjuez de desempenarlo hasta los 70 aos de edadose
incapacite no priva al Congreso de sufacultad de abolir, fusionar o reorganizarjuzgados no constitucionales."
57
Nonetheless, such well-
established principle was not held applicable to the situation there obtaining, the Charter of Tacloban City creating a city court in
place of the former justice of the peace court. Thus: "Pero en el caso de autos el Juzgado de Tacloban no ha sidoabolido. Sol o se le
ha cambiado el nombre con el cambio de forma del gobierno local."
58
The present case is anything but that. Petitioners did not and
could not prove that the challenged statute was not within the bounds of legislative authority.
7. This opinion then could very well stop at this point. The implementation of Batas PambansaBlg. 129, concededly a task incumbent on
the Executive, may give rise, however, to questions affecting a judiciary that should be kept independent. The all -embracing scope of
the assailed legislation as far as all inferior courts from the Courts of Appeals to municipal courts are concerned, with the exception
solely of the Sandiganbayan and the Court of Tax Appeals
59
gave rise, and understandably so, to misgivings as to its effect on such
cherished Ideal. The first paragraph of the section on the transitory provision reads: "The provisions of this Act shall be immediately
carried out in accordance with an Executive Order to be issued by the President. The Court of Appeals, the Courts of First Instance, the
Circuit Criminal Courts, the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Courts, the Courts of Agrarian Relations, the City Courts, the Municipal
Courts, and the Municipal Circuit Courts shall continue to function as presently constituted and organized, until the completion of the
reorganization provided in this Act as declared by the President. Upon such declaration, the said courts shall be deemed automatically
abolished and the incumbents thereof shall cease to hold the office."
60
There is all the more reason then why this Court has no choice
but to inquire further into the allegation by petitioners that the security of tenure provision, an assurance of a judiciary free from
extraneous influences, is thereby reduced to a barren form of words. The amended Constitution adheres even more clearly to the
long-established tradition of a strong executive that antedated the 1935 Charter. As noted in the work of former Vice-Governor
Hayden, a noted political scientist, President Claro M. Recto of the 1934 Convention, in his closing address, in stressing such a concept,
categorically spoke of providing "an executive power which, subject to the fiscalization of the Assembly, and of public opinion, will not
only know how to govern, but will actually govern, with a firm and steady hand, unembarrassed by vexatious interferences by other
departments, or by unholy alliances with this and that social group."
61
The above excerpt was cited with approval by Justice Laurel
in Planas v. Gil.
62
Moreover, under the 1981 Amendments, it may be affirmed that once again the principle of separation of powers, to
quote from the same jurist as ponente in Angara v. Electoral Commission,
63
"obtains not through express provision but by actual
division."
64
The president, under Article VII, shall be the head of state and chief executive of the Republic of the
Philippines."
65
Moreover, it is equally therein expressly provided that all the powers he possessed under the 1935 Constitution are once
again vested in him unless the BatasangPambansa provides otherwise."
66
Article VII of the 1935 Constitution speaks categorically: "The
Executive power shall be vested in a President of the Philippines."
67
As originally framed, the 1973 Constitution created the position of
President as the "symbolic head of state."
68
In addition, there was a provision for a Prime Minister as the head of government exercising
the executive power with the assistance of the Cabinet
69
Clearly, a modified parliamentary system was established. In the light of the
1981 amendments though, this Court in Free Telephone Workers Union v. Minister of Labor
70
could state: "The adoption of certain
aspects of a parliamentary system in the amended Constitution does not alter its essentially presidential character."
71
The retention,
however, of the position of the Prime Minister with the Cabinet, a majority of the members of which shall come from the regional
representatives of the BatasangPambansa and the creation of an Executive Committee composed of the Prime Minister as Chairman
and not more than fourteen other members at least half of whom shall be members of the BatasangPambansa, clearly indicate the
evolving nature of the system of government that is now operative.
72
What is equally apparent is that the strongest ties bind the
executive and legislative departments. It is likewise undeniable that the BatasangPambansa retains its full authority to enact whatever
legislation may be necessary to carry out national policy as usually formulated in a caucus of the majority party. It is understandable
then why in Fortun v. Labang
73
it was stressed that with the provision transferring to the Supreme Court administrative supervision over
the Judiciary, there is a greater need "to preserve unimpaired the independence of the judiciary, especially so at present, where to all
intents and purposes, there is a fusion between the executive and the legislative branches."
74

8. To be more specific, petitioners contend that the abolition of the existing inferior courts collides with the security of tenure enjoyed by
incumbent Justices and judges under Article X, Section 7 of the Constitution. There was a similar provision in the 1935 Constitution. It did
not, however, go as far as conferring on this Tribunal the power to supervise administratively inferior courts.
75
Moreover, this Court is em
powered "to discipline judges of inferior courts and, by a vote of at least eight members, order their dismissal."
76
Thus it possesses the
competence to remove judges. Under the Judiciary Act, it was the President who was vested with such power.
77
Removal is, of course,
to be distinguished from termination by virtue of the abolition of the office. There can be no tenure to a non-existent office. After the
abolition, there is in law no occupant. In case of removal, there is an office with an occupant who would thereby lose his position. It is in
that sense that from the standpoint of strict law, the question of any impairment of security of tenure does not arise. Nonetheless, for
the incumbents of inferior courts abolished, the effect is one of separation. As to its effect, no distinction exists between removal and
the abolition of the office. Realistically, it is devoid of significance. He ceases to be a member of the judiciary. In the implementation of
the assailed legislation, therefore, it would be in accordance with accepted principles of constitutional construction that as far as
incumbent justices and judges are concerned, this Court be consulted and that its view be accorded the fullest consideration. No fear
need be entertained that there is a failure to accord respect to the basic principle that this Court does not render advisory opinions. No
question of law is involved. If such were the case, certainly this Court could not have its say prior to the action taken by either of the
two departments. Even then, it could do so but only by way of deciding a case where the matter has been put in issue. Neither is there
any intrusion into who shall be appointed to the vacant positions created by the reorganization. That remains in the hands of the
Executive to whom it properly belongs. There is no departure therefore from the tried and tested ways of judicial power, Rather what is
sought to be achieved by this liberal interpretation is to preclude any plausibility to the charge that in the exercise of the conceded
power of reorganizing tulle inferior courts, the power of removal of the present incumbents vested in this Tribunal is ignored or
disregarded. The challenged Act would thus be free from any unconstitutional taint, even one not readily discernidble except to those
predisposed to view it with distrust. Moreover, such a construction would be in accordance with the basic principle that in the choice of
alternatives between one which would save and another which would invalidate a statute, the former is to be preferred.
78
There is an
obvious way to do so. The principle that the Constitution enters into and forms part of every act to avoid any constitutional taint must
be applied Nuez v. Sandiganbayan,
79
promulgated last January, has this relevant excerpt: "It is true that other Sections of the Decree
could have been so worded as to avoid any constitutional objection. As of now, however, no ruling is called for. The view is given
expression in the concurring and dissenting opinion of Justice Makasiar that in such a case to save the Decree from the direct fate of
invalidity, they must be construed in such a way as to preclude any possible erosion on the powers vested in this Court by the
Constitution. That is a proposition too plain to be committed. It commends itself for approval."
80
Nor would such a step be
unprecedented. The Presidential Decree constituting Municipal Courts into Municipal Circuit Courts, specifically provides: "The Supreme
Court shall carry out the provisions of this Decree through implementing orders, on a province-to-province basis."
81
It is true there is no
such provision in this Act, but the spirit that informs it should not be ignored in the Executive Order contemplated under its Section
44.
82
Thus Batas PambansaBlg. 129 could stand the most rigorous test of constitutionality.
83

9. Nor is there anything novel in the concept that this Court is called upon to reconcile or harmonize constitutional provisi ons. To be
specific, the BatasangPambansa is expressly vested with the authority to reorganize inferior courts and in the process to abolish existing
ones. As noted in the preceding paragraph, the termination of office of their occupants, as a necessary consequence of such
abolition, is hardly distinguishable from the practical standpoint from removal, a power that is now vested in this Tribunal. It is of the
essence of constitutionalism to assure that neither agency is precluded from acting within the boundaries of its conceded
competence. That is why it has long been well-settled under the constitutional system we have adopted that this Court cannot,
whenever appropriate, avoid the task of reconciliation. As Justice Laurel put it so well in the previously cited Angara decision, while in
the main, "the Constitution has blocked out with deft strokes and in bold lines, allotment of power to the executive, the legislative and
the judicial departments of the government, the overlapping and interlacing of functions and duties between the several
departments, however, sometimes makes it hard to say just where the one leaves off and the other begins."
84
It is well to recall another
classic utterance from the same jurist, even more emphatic in its affirmation of such a view, moreover buttressed by one of those
insights for which Holmes was so famous "The classical separation of government powers, whether viewed in the light of the political
philosophy of Aristotle, Locke, or Motesquieu or of the postulations of Mabini, Madison, or Jefferson, is a relative theory of government.
There is more truism and actuality in interdependence than in independence and separation of powers, for as observed by Justice
Holmes in a case of Philippine origin, we cannot lay down 'with mathematical precision and divide the branches into water-tight
compartments' not only because 'the great ordinances of the Constitution do not establish and divide fields of black and white but
also because 'even the more specific of them are found to terminate in a penumbra shading gradually from one extreme to the
other.'"
85
This too from Justice Tuazon, likewise expressing with force and clarity why the need for reconciliation or balancing is well-nigh
unavodiable under the fundamental principle of separation of powers: "The constitutional structure is a complicated system, and
overlappings of governmental functions are recognized, unavoidable, and inherent necessities of governmental coordination."
86
In the
same way that the academe has noted the existence in constitutional litigation of right versus right, there are instances, and this is one
of them, where, without this attempt at harmonizing the provisions in question, there could be a case of power against power. That we
should avoid.
10. There are other objections raised but they pose no difficulty. Petitioners would characterize as an undue delegation of l egislative
power to the President the grant of authority to fix the compensation and the allowances of the Justices and judges thereafter
appointed. A more careful reading of the challenged Batas PambansaBlg. 129 ought to have cautioned them against raising such an
issue. The language of the statute is quite clear. The questioned provisions reads as follows: "Intermediate Appellate Justices, Regional
Trial Judges, Metropolitan Trial Judges, municipal Trial Judges, and Municipal Circuit Trial Judges shall receive such receive such
compensation and allowances as may be authorized by the President along the guidelines set forth in Letter of Implementation No. 93
pursuant to Presidential Decree No. 985, as amended by Presidential Decree No. 1597."
87
The existence of a standard is thus clear. The
basic postulate that underlies the doctrine of non-delegation is that it is the legislative body which is entrusted with the competence to
make laws and to alter and repeal them, the test being the completeness of the statue in all its terms and provisions when enacted. As
pointed out in Edu v. Ericta:
88
"To avoid the taint of unlawful delegation, there must be a standard, which implies at the very least that
the legislature itself determines matters of principle and lays down fundamental policy. Otherwise, the charge of complete abdication
may be hard to repel. A standard thus defines legislative policy, marks its limits, maps out its boundaries and specifies the public
agency to apply it. It indicates the circumstances under which the legislative command is to be effected. It is the criterion by which
legislative purpose may be carried out. Thereafter, the executive or administrative office designated may in pursuance of the above
guidelines promulgate supplemental rules and regulations. The standard may be either express or implied. If the former, the non-
delegation objection is easily met. The standard though does not have to be spelled out specifically. It could be implied from the
policy and purpose of the act considered as a whole."
89
The undeniably strong links that bind the executive and legislative
departments under the amended Constitution assure that the framing of policies as well as their implementation can be accomplished
with unity, promptitude, and efficiency. There is accuracy, therefore, to this observation in the Free Telephone Workers Union decision:
"There is accordingly more receptivity to laws leaving to administrative and executive agencies the adoption of such means as may be
necessary to effectuate a valid legislative purpose. It is worth noting that a highly-respected legal scholar, Professor Jaffe, as early as
1947, could speak of delegation as the 'dynamo of modern government.'"
90
He warned against a "restrictive approach" which could
be "a deterrent factor to much-needed legislation."
91
Further on this point from the same opinion" "The spectre of the non-delegation
concept need not haunt, therefore, party caucuses, cabinet sessions or legislative chambers."
92
Another objection based on the
absence in the statue of what petitioners refer to as a "definite time frame limitation" is equally bereft of merit. They ignore the
categorical language of this provision: "The Supreme Court shall submit to the President, within thirty (30) days from the date of the
effectivity of this act, a staffing pattern for all courts constituted pursuant to this Act which shall be the basis of the implementing order
to be issued by the President in accordance with the immediately succeeding section."
93
The first sentence of the next section is even
more categorical: "The provisions of this Act shall be immediately carried out in accordance with an Executive Order to be issued by
the President."
94
Certainly petitioners cannot be heard to argue that the President is insensible to his consti tutional duty to take care
that the laws be faithfully executed.
95
In the meanwhile, the existing inferior courts affected continue functioning as before, "until the
completion of the reorganization provided in this Act as declared by the President. Upon such declaration, the said courts shall be
deemed automatically abolished and the incumbents thereof shall cease to hold office."
96
There is no ambiguity. The incumbents of
the courts thus automatically abolished "shall cease to hold office." No fear need be entertained by incumbents whose length of
service, quality of performance, and clean record justify their being named anew,
97
in legal contemplation without any interruption in
the continuity of their service.
98
It is equally reasonable to assume that from the ranks of lawyers, either in the government service,
private practice, or law professors will come the new appointees. In the event that in certain cases a little more time is necessary in the
appraisal of whether or not certain incumbents deserve reappointment, it is not from their standpoint undesirable. Rather, it would be a
reaffirmation of the good faith that will characterize its implementation by the Executive. There is pertinence to this observation of
Justice Holmes that even acceptance of the generalization that courts ordinarily should not supply omissions in a law, a generalization
qualified as earlier shown by the principle that to save a statute that could be done, "there is no canon against using common sense in
construing laws as saying what they obviously mean."
99
Where then is the unconstitutional flaw
11. On the morning of the hearing of this petition on September 8, 1981, petitioners sought to have the writer of this opinion and Justices
Ramon C. Aquino and AmeurfinaMelencio-Herrera disqualified because the first-named was the chairman and the other two,
members of the Committee on Judicial Reorganization. At the hearing, the motion was denied. It was made clear then and there that
not one of the three members of the Court had any hand in the framing or in the discussion of Batas PambansaBlg. 129. They were not
consulted. They did not testify. The challenged legislation is entirely the product of the efforts of the legislative body.
100
Their work was
limited, as set forth in the Executive Order, to submitting alternative plan for reorganization. That is more in the nature of scholarly
studies. That the undertook. There could be no possible objection to such activity. Ever since 1973, this Tribunal has had administrative
supervision over interior courts. It has had the opportunity to inform itself as to the way judicial business is conducted and how it may be
improved. Even prior to the 1973 Constitution, it is the recollection of the writer of this opinion that either the then Chai rman or members
of the Committee on Justice of the then Senate of the Philippines
101
consulted members of the Court in drafting proposed legislation
affecting the judiciary. It is not inappropriate to cite this excerpt from an article in the 1975 Supreme Court Review: "In the twentieth
century the Chief Justice of the United States has played a leading part in judicial reform. A variety of conditions have been
responsible for the development of this role, and foremost among them has been the creation of explicit institutional structures
designed to facilitate reform."
102
Also: "Thus the Chief Justice cannot avoid exposure to and direct involvement in judicial reform at the
federal level and, to the extent issues of judicial federalism arise, at the state level as well."
103

12. It is a cardinal article of faith of our constitutional regime that it is the people who are endowed with rights, to secure which a
government is instituted. Acting as it does through public officials, it has to grant them either expressly or impliedly certain powers.
Those they exercise not for their own benefit but for the body politic. The Constitution does not speak in the language of ambiguity: "A
public office is a public trust."
104
That is more than a moral adjuration It is a legal imperative. The law may vest in a public official certain
rights. It does so to enable them to perform his functions and fulfill his responsibilities more efficiently. It is from that standpoint that the
security of tenure provision to assure judicial independence is to be viewed. It is an added guarantee that justices and judges can
administer justice undeterred by any fear of reprisal or untoward consequence. Their judgments then are even more likely to be
inspired solely by their knowledge of the law and the dictates of their conscience, free from the corrupting influence of base or
unworthy motives. The independence of which they are assured is impressed with a significance transcending that of a purely personal
right. As thus viewed, it is not solely for their welfare. The challenged legislation Thus subject d to the most rigorous scrutiny by this
Tribunal, lest by lack of due care and circumspection, it allow the erosion of that Ideal so firmly embedded in the national
consciousness There is this farther thought to consider. independence in thought and action necessarily is rooted in one's mind and
heart. As emphasized by former Chief Justice Paras in Ocampo v. Secretary of Justice,
105
there is no surer guarantee of judicial
independence than the God-given character and fitness of those appointed to the Bench. The judges may be guaranteed a fixed
tenure of office during good behavior, but if they are of such stuff as allows them to be subservient to one administration after another,
or to cater to the wishes of one litigant after another, the independence of the judiciary will be nothing more than a myth or an empty
Ideal. Our judges, we are confident, can be of the type of Lord Coke, regardless or in spite of the power of Congress we do not say
unlimited but as herein exercised to reorganize inferior courts."
106
That is to recall one of the greatest Common Law jurists, who at the
cost of his office made clear that he would not just blindly obey the King's order but "will do what becomes [him] as a judge." So it was
pointed out in the first leading case stressing the independence of the judiciary, Borromeo v. Mariano,
107
The ponencia of Justice
Malcolm Identified good judges with "men who have a mastery of the principles of law, who discharge their duties in accordance with
law, who are permitted to perform the duties of the office undeterred by outside influence, and who are independent and self-
respecting human units in a judicial system equal and coordinate to the other two departments of government."
108
There is no reason
to assume that the failure of this suit to annul Batas PambansaBlg. 129 would be attended with deleterious consequences to the
administration of justice. It does not follow that the abolition in good faith of the existing inferior courts except the Sandiganbayan and
the Court of Tax Appeals and the creation of new ones will result in a judiciary unable or unwilling to discharge with independence its
solemn duty or one recreant to the trust reposed in it. Nor should there be any fear that less than good faith will attend the exercise be
of the appointing power vested in the Executive. It cannot be denied that an independent and efficient judiciary is something to the
credit of any administration. Well and truly has it been said that the fundamental principle of separation of powers assumes, and
justifiably so, that the three departments are as one in their determination to pursue the Ideals and aspirations and to fulfilling the hopes
of the sovereign people as expressed in the Constitution. There is wisdom as well as validity to this pronouncement of Justice Malcolm
in Manila Electric Co. v. Pasay Transportation Company,
109
a decision promulgated almost half a century ago: "Just as the Supreme
Court, as the guardian of constitutional rights, should not sanction usurpations by any other department or the government, so should it
as strictly confine its own sphere of influence to the powers expressly or by implication conferred on it by the Organic Act."
110
To that
basic postulate underlying our constitutional system, this Court remains committed.
WHEREFORE, the unconstitutionality of Batas PambansaBlg. 129 not having been shown, this petition is dismissed. No costs.
Makasiar and Escolin, JJ., concur.
Concepcion, Jr., concur in the result.


Separate Opinions

BARREDO, J., concurring:
I join the majority of my brethren in voting that the Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980, Batas PambansaBlg. 129, is not
unconstitutional as a whole nor in any of its parts.
The issue of unconstitutionality raised by petitioners relates particularly to Section 44 of the Act which reads as follows:
SEC. 44. Transitory provisions. The provisions of this Act shall be immediately carried out in accordance with an
Executive Order to be issued by the President. The Court of Appeals, the Courts of First Instance, the Circuit Criminal
Courts, the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Courts, the Courts of Agrarian Relations, the City Courts, the Municipal
Courts, and the Municipal Circuit Courts shall continue to function as presently constituted and organized, until the
completion of the reorganization provided in this Act as declared by the President. Upon such declaration, the said
courts shall be deemed automatically abolished and the incumbents thereof shall cease to hold office. The cases
pending in the old Courts shall e transferred to the appropriate Courts constituted pursuant to this Act, together with
the pertinent functions, records, equipment,.property and the necessary personnel.
The applicable appropriations shall likewise be transferred to the appropriate courts constituted pursuant to this Act,
to be augmented as may be necessary from the funds for organizational changes as provided in Batas
PambansaBlg. 80. Said funding shall thereafter be included in the annual General Appropriations Act.
It is contended by petitioners that the provision in the above section which mandates that "upon the declaration upon the President
that the reorganization contemplated in the Act has been completed), the said courts (meaning the Court of Appeals and all other
lower courts, except the Sandiganbayan and the Court of Tax Appeals) shall be deemed abolished and the incumbents thereof shall
cease to hold office" trenches on all the constitutional safeguards and guarantees of the independence of the judiciary, such as the
security of tenure of its members (Section 7, Article X of the Philippine Constitution of 1973), the prerogatives of the Supreme Court to
administratively supervise all courts and the personnel thereof (Section 6, Id.) and principally, the power of the Supreme Court "to
discipline judges of inferior courts and, by a vote of at least eight Members, order their dismissal. " (Section 7, Id.)
On the other hand, respondents maintain that thru the above-quoted Section 44. the Batasan did nothing more than to exercise the
authority conferred upon it be Section I of the same Article of the Constitution which provides that The Judicial power shall be rested in
one Supreme Court and in such inferior courts as may be established by law." In other words, since all inferior courts are, constitutionally
speaking, mere creatures of the law (of the legislature it follows that it is within the legislature's power to abolish or reorganize them
even if in so doing, it might result in the cessation from office of the incumbents thereof before the expiration of their respective
constitutionally fixed tenures. Respondents emphasize that the legislative power in this respect is broad and indeed plenary.
Viewing the problem before Us from the above perspectives, it would appear that our task is either (1) to reconcile, on the one hand,
the parliament's power of abolition and reorganization with, on the other, the security of tenure of members of the judiciary and the
Supreme Court's authority to discipline and remove judges or (2) to declare that either the power of the Supreme Court or of the
Batasan is more paramount than that of the other. I believe. however, that such a manner of looking at the issue that confronts Us only
confuses and compounds the task We are called upon to perform. For how can there be a satisfactory and rational reconciliation of
the pretended right of a judge to continue as such, when the position occupied by him no longer exists? To suggest, as some do, that
the solution is for the court he is sitting in not to be deemed abolished or that he should in some way be allowed to continue to function
as judge until his constitutional tenure expires is obviously impractical, if only because we would then have the absurd spectacle of a
judiciary with old and new courts functioning under distinct set-ups, such as a district court continuing as such in a region where the
other judges are regional judges or of judges exercising powers not purely judicial which is offensive to the Constitution. The other
suggestion that the incumbent of the abolished court should be deemed appointed to the corresponding new court is even worse,
since it would deprive the appointing authority, the president, of the power to make his own choices and would, furthermore, amount
to an appointment by legislation which is a Constitutional anachronism. more on this point later .
Inasmuch as pursuant to the analysis of the majority of the Members of this Court, in fact and in law, the structure of judicial system
created by Batas Pambansa 129 is substantially different from that under the Judiciary Act of 1948, as amended, hence the courts now
existing are actually being abolished, why do We have to indulge in any reconciliation or feel bound to determine whose power, that
of the BatasangPambansa or that of this Court, should be considered more imperious? It being conceded that the power to create or
establish carries with it the power to abolish, and it is a legal axiom, or at least a pragmatic reality that the tenure of the holder of an
office must of necessity end when his office no longer exists, as I see it, be have no alternative than to hold that petitioners' invocation
of the independence of the judiciary principle of the Constitution is unavailing ill the cases at bar. It is as simple as that. I might hasten
to add, in this connection, that to insist that what Batas Pambansa 129 is doing is just a renaming and not a substantial and actual
modification or alteration of the present judicial structure or system assuming a close scrutiny might somehow support such a
conclusion, is pure wishful thinking, it being explicitly and unequivocally provided in the section in question that said courts are deemed
abolished" and further, as if to make it most unmistakably emphatic, that "the incumbents thereat shall cease to hold office." Dura les,
sed les. As a matter of fact, I cannot conceive of a more emphatic way of manifesting and conveying the determined legislative
intent about it.
Now, why am I yielding to the above reasoning and conclusion? Why don't I insist on championing the cause of the independence of
the judiciary by maintaining that the constitutional safeguards thereof I have already enumerated earlier must be respected i n any
reorganization ordained by the parliament My answer is simple. Practically all the Members of the Court concede that what is
contemplated is not only general reorganization but abolition in other words, not only a rearrangement or remodelling of the old
structure but a total demolition thereof to be followed by the building of a new and different one. I am practically alone in
contemplating a different view. True, even if I should appear as shouting in the wilderness, I would still make myself a hero in the eyes of
man justices and judges, members of the bar and concerned discerning citizens, all lovers of the judicial independence, but
understandably, I should not be, as I am not, disposed to play such a role virtually at the expense not only of my distinguished
colleagues but of the BatasangPambansa that framed the law and, most of all, the President who signed and, therefore, sanctioned
the Act as it is, unless I am absolutely sure that my position is formidable, unassailable and beyond all possible contrary ratiocination,
which I am not certain of, as I shall demonstrate anon.
To start with, the jurisprudence, here and abroad, touching on the question now before Us cannot be said to be clear and consistent,
much less unshakeable and indubitably definite either way. None of the local cases
1
relied upon and discussed by the parties and by
the Members of the Court during the deliberations, such as Borromeo,
2
Ocampo,
3
Zandueta,
4
Brillo,
5
etc. can, to my mind, really serve
as reliable pole stars that could lead me to certainty of correctness.
Of course, my instinct and passion for an independent judiciary are uncompromising and beyond diminution. Indeed, my initial
reactions, publicly known, about Batas Pambansa 129 explaining academically its apparent tendency to invade the areas of authority
of the Supreme Court, not to speak of its dangerously impairing the independence of the judiciary, must have, I imagine, created the
impression that I would vote to declare the law unconstitutional. But, during the deliberations of the Court, the combined wisdom of my
learned colleagues was something I could not discount or just brush aside. Pondering and thinking deeper about all relevant factors, I
have come to the conviction that at least on this day and hour there are justifiable grounds to uphold the Act, if only to try how it will
operate so that thereby the people may see that We are one with the President and the Batasan in taking what appear to be
immediate steps needed to relieve the people from a fast spreading cancer in the judiciary of our country.
Besides, the Philippines has somehow not yet returned to complete normalcy The improved national discipline so evident during the
earlier days of martial law, has declined at a quite discernible degree. Different sectors of society are demanding urgent reforms in
their respective field And about the most vehement and persistent, loud and clear, among their gripes, which as a matter of fact is
common to all of them is that about the deterioration in the quality of performance of the judges manning our courts and the slow and
dragging pace of pending judicial proceedings. Strictly speaking, this is, to be sure, something that may not necessarily be related to
lack of independence of the judiciary. It has more to do with the ineptness and/or corruption among and corruptibility of the men
sitting in the courts in some parts of the country And what is worse, while in the communities concerned the malady is known to
factually exist and is actually graver and widespread, very few, if any individuals or even associations and organized groups, truly
incensed and anxious to be of help, have the courage and possess the requisite legal evidence to come out and file the
corresponding charges with the Supreme Court, And I am not vet referring to similar situations that are not quite openly known but
nevertheless just as deleterious. On the other hand, if all these intolerable instances should actually be formally brought to the Supreme
Court, it would be humanly impossible for the Court to dispose of them with desirable dispatch, what with the thousands of other cases
it has to attend to and the rather cumbersome strict requirements of procedural due process it has to observe in each and every such
administrative case all of which are time consulting. Verily, under the foregoing circumstances, it may be said that there is justification
for the patience of the people about the possibility of early eradication of this disease or evil in our judiciary pictured above to be
nearing the breaking point.
Withal, we must bear in mind that judicial reorganization becomes urgent and inevitable not alone because of structural inadequacies
of the system or of the cumbersomeness and technicality-peppered and dragging procedural rules in force, but also when it becomes
evident that a good number of those occupying positions in the judiciary, make a mockery of justice and take advantage of their
office for selfish personal ends and yet, as already explained, those in authority cannot expeditiously cope with the situati on under
existing laws and rules. It is my personal assessment of the present situation in our judiciary that its reorganization has to be of necessity
two-pronged, as I have just indicated, for the most Ideal judicial system with the most perfect procedural rules cannot satisfy the
people and the interests of justice unless the men who hold positions therein possess the character, competence and sense of loyalty
that can guarantee their devotion to duty and absolute impartiality, nay, impregnability to an temptations of graft and corruption,
including the usual importunings and the fearsome albeit improper pressures of the powers that be. I am certain that the Filipino
people feel happy that Batas Pambansa 129 encompasses both of these objectives, which indeed are aligned with the foundation of
the principle of independence of the judiciary.
The above premises considered, I have decided to tackle our problem from the viewpoint of the unusual situation in which our
judiciary is presently perilously situated. Needless to say, to all of us, the Members of the Court, the constitutional guarantees of security
of tenure and removal only by the Supreme Court, among others, against impairment of the independence of the judiciary, which is
one of the bedrock's and, therefore, of the essence in any "democracy under a regime of justice, peace, liberty and equality
(Preamble of the 1973 Constitution), are priceless and should be defended, most of all by the Supreme Court, with all the wisdom and
courage God has individually endowed to each of Us. Withal, we are all conscious of the fact that those safeguards have never been
intended to place the person of the judge in a singular position of privilege and untouchability, but rather, that they are essentially part
and parcel of what is required of an independent judiciary where judges can decide cases and do justice to everyone before
them ruatcaelum. However, We find Ourselves face to face with a situation, in our judiciary which is of emergency proportions and to
insist on rationalizing how those guarantees should be enforced under such a circumstance seem to be difficult, aside from being
controversial. And so, in a real sense, We have to make a choice between adhering to the strictly legalistic reasoning pursued by
petitioners, on the one hand, and the broader and more practical approach, which as I have said is within the spirit at least of the
Constitution.
My concept of the Constitution is that it is not just a cluster of high sounding verbiages spelling purely Idealism and nobility in the
recognition of human dignity, protection of individual liberties and providing security and promotion of the general welfare under a
government of laws. With all emphasis and vehemence, I say that the fundamental law of the land is a living instrument which
translates and adapts itself to the demands of obtaining circumstances. It is written for all seasons, except for very unusual instances
that human ratiocination cannot justify to be contemplated by its language even if read in its broadest sense and in the most liberal
way. Verily, it is paramount and supreme in peace and in war, but even in peace grave critical situations arise demanding recourse to
extraordinary solutions. Paraphrasing the Spanish adage, "Grandes males, grandesremedios ", such in ordinary problems justify
exceptional remedies. And so, history records that in the face of grave crises and emergencies, the most constitutionally Idealistic
countries have, at one time or another, under the pressure of pragmatic considerations, adopted corresponding realistic measures,
which perilously tether along the periphery of their Charters, to the extent of creating impressions, of course erroneous, that the same
had been transgressed, although in truth their integrity and imperiousness remained undiminished and unimpaired.
The Philippines has but recently had its own experience of such constitutional approach. When martial law was proclaimed here in
1972, there were those who vociferously shouted not only that the President had acted arbitrarily and without the - required factual
bases contemplated in the Commander-in-Chief clause of the 1935 Constitution, but more, that he had gone beyond the traditional
and universally recognized intent of said clause by utilizing his martial law powers not only to maintain peace and tranquili ty and
preserve and defend the integrity and security of the state but to establish a New Society The critics contended that martial law is onl y
for national security, not for the imposition of national discipline under a New Society.
Due to its relevancy to Our present discussion, it is well for everyone to bear in mind that in this jurisdiction, this concept of martial law
has already been upheld several times by this Court. 1, for one, accepted such a construction because I firmly believe that to impose
martial law for the sole end of suppressing an insurrection or rebellion without coincidentally taking corresponding measures to
eradicate the root causes of the uprising is utter folly, for the country would still continue to lay open to its recurrence.
I have made the foregoing discourse, for it is fundamentally in the fight of this Court's doctrines about the imposition of martial law as I
have stated that I prefer to base this concurrence. To put it differently, if indeed there could be some doubt as to the correctness of
this Court's judgment that Batas Pambansa 129 is not unconstitutional, particularly its Section 44, I am convinced that the critical
situation of our judiciary today calls for solutions that may not in the eyes of some conform strictly with the letter of the Constitution but
indubitably justified by its spirit and intent. As 1 have earlier indicated, the Charter is not just a construction of words to whose literal iron-
clad meanings we must feel hidebound without regard to every Constitution's desirable inherent nature of adjustability and
adaptability to prevailing situations so that the spirit and fundamental intent and objectives of the framers may remain alive. Batas
Pambansa 129 is one such adaptation that comes handy for the attainment of the transcendental objectives it seeks to pursue While,
to be sure, it has the effect of factually easing out some justices and judges before the end of their respective constitutional tenure
sans the usual administrative investigation, the desirable end is achieved thru means that, in the light of the prevailing conditions, is
constitutionally permissible.
Before closing, it may not be amiss for me to point out that Batas PambansaBlg. 129, aside from what has been discussed about its
effect on the guarantees of judicial independence, also preempts, in some of its provisions, the primary rule-making power of the
Supreme Court in respect to procedure, practice and evidence. With the pardon of my colleagues, I would just like to say that the
Court should not decry this development too much. After all, the legislature is expressly empowered by the Charter to do so, (Section
5(5), Article X of the Constitution of 1973) so much so, that I doubt if the Court has any authority to alter or modify any rule the
BatasangPambansa enunciates. Truth to tell, as Chairman of the Committee on the Revision of the Rules of Court, for one reason or
another, principally the lack of a clear consensus as to what some of my colleagues consider very radical proposals voiced by me or
my committee, We have regrettably procrastinated long enough in making our procedural rules more practical and more conducive
to speedier disposal and termination of controversies by dealing more with substantial justice.
So also have We, it must be confessed, failed to come up to expectations of the framers of the Constitution in our ways of disposing of
administrative complaints against erring and misconducting judges. Of course, We can excuse Ourselves with the explanation that not
only are We overloaded with work beyond human capability of its being performed expeditiously, but that the strict requisites of due
process which are time consuming have precluded Us from being more expeditious and speedy.
I feel I must say all of these, because if the above-discussed circumstances have not combined to create a very critical situation in our
judiciary that is making the people lose its faith and confidence in the administration of justice by the existing courts, perhaps the Court
could look with more sympathy at the stand of petitioners. I want all the sundry to know, however, that notwithstanding this decision,
the independence of the judiciary in the Philippines is far from being insubstantial, much less meaningless and dead. Batas Pambansa
129 has precisely opened our eyes to how, despite doubts and misgivings, the Constitution can be so construed as to make it possible
for those in authority to answer the clamor of the people for an upright judiciary and overcome constitutional roadblocks more
apparent than real.
To those justices, judges, members of the bar and concerned citizens whose eyes may be dimming with tears of disappointment and
disenchantment because of the stand I have chosen to adopt in these cases, may I try to assuage them by joining their fervent prayers
that some other day, hopefully in the near future, Divine Providence may dictate to another constitutional convention to write the
guarantees of judicial independence with ink of deeper hue and words that are definite, clear, unambiguous and unequivocal, in
drawing the line of demarcation between the Parliament and the Judiciary in the manner that in His Infinite wisdom would most
promote genuine and impartial justice for our people, free, not only from graft, corruption, ineptness and incompetence but even from
the tentacles of interference and insiduous influence of the political powers that be. Presently, I am constrained from going along with
any other view than that the Constitution allows abolition of existing courts even if the effect has to be the elimination of any
incumbent judge and the consequent cutting of his constitutional tenure of office.
I cannot close this concurrence without referring to the apprehensions in some quarters about the choice that will ultimately be made
of those who will be eased out of the judiciary in the course of the implementation of Batas Pambansa 129. By this decision, the Court
has in factual effect albeit not in constitutional conception yielded generally to the BatasangPambansa, and more specificall y to the
President, its own constitutionally conferred power of removal of judges. Section 44 of the Batasan's Act declares that all of them shall
be deemed to have ceased to hold office, leaving it to the President to appoint those whom he may see fit to occupy the new courts.
Thus, those who will not be appointed can be considered as "ceasing to hold their respective offices", or, as others would say they
would be in fact removed. How the President will make his choices is beyond Our power to control. But even if some may be eased out
even without being duly informed of the reason therefor, much less being given the opportunity to be heard the past actuations of the
President on all matters of deep public interest shouted serve as sufficient assurance that when lie ultimately acts, he will faithfully
adhere to his solemn oath "to do justice to every man hence, lie will equip himself first with the fullest reliable informati on before acts.
This is not only my individual faith founded on my personal acquaintance with the character and sterling qualities of President
Ferdinand E. Marcos. I dare say this is the faith of the nation in a man who has led it successfully through crises and emergencies, with
justice to all, with malice towards none. I am certain, the President will deal with each and every individual to be affected by this
reorganization with the best light that God will give him every moment he acts in each individual case as it comes for his decision

AQUINO, J., concurring:
I concur in the result. The petitioners filed this petition for declaratory relief and prohibition "to declare the Judiciary Reorganization Act
of 1980 (Batas PambansaBlg. 129) unconstitutional".
The petition should have been dismissed outright because this Court has no jurisdiction to grant declaratory relief and prohibition is not
the proper remedy to test the constitutionality of the law. the petition is premature. No jurisdictional question is involved.
There is no justiciable controversy wherein the constitutionality of the said law is in issue. It is presumed to be constitutional. The
lawmaking body before enacting it looked into the constitutional angle.
Seven of the eight petitioners are practising lawyers. They have no personality to assail the constitutionality of the said l aw even as
taxpayers.
The eighth petitioner, Gualberto J. de la Llana, a city judge (who in 1977 filed a petition for declaratory relief assailing Presidential
Decree No. 1229, which called for a referendum. De la Llana his Comelec, 80 SCRA 525), has no cause of action for prohibition. He is
not being removed from his position.
The Judiciary Reorganization Law was enacted in utmost good faith and not "to cloak an unconstitutional and evil purpose As ably
expounded by the Chief Justice, in enacting the said law, the lawmaking body acted within the scope of its constitutional powers and
prerogatives.

GUERRERO, J., concurring:
I concur with my distinguished and learned colleagues in upholding the constitutionality of the Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980.
For the record, however, I would like to state my personal convictions and observations on this case, a veritable landmark case, for
whatever they may be worth.
The legal basis of the Court's opinion rendered by our esteemed Chief Justice having been exhaustively discussed and decisively
justified by him, a highly-respected expert and authority on constitutional law, it would be an exercise in duplication to reiterate the
same cases and precedents. I am then constrained to approach the problem quite differently, not through the classic methods of
philosophy, history and tradition, but following what the well-known jurist, Dean Pound, said that "the most significant advance in the
modern science of law is the change from the analytical to the functional attitude."
1
And in pursuing this direct
ion, I must also reckon with and rely on the ruling that "another guide to the meaning of a statute is found in the evil which it is designed
to remedy, and for this the court properly looks at contemporaneous events, the situation as it existed, and as it was pressed upon the
attention of the legislative body."
2

I have no doubt in my mind that the institutional reforms and changes envisioned by the law are clearly conducive to the promotion of
national interests. The objectives of the legislation namely: (a) An institutional restructuring by the creation of an Intermediate Appellate
Court, thirteen (I 3) Regional Trial Courts, Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts: (b) A
reappointment of jurisdiction geared towards greater efficiency: (c) A simplification of procedures and (d) The abolition of the inferior
courts created by the Judiciary Act of 1948 and other statutes, as approved by the Congress of the Philippines
3
are undoubtedly
intended to improve the regime of justice and thereby enhance public good and order. Indeed, the purpose of the Act as further
stated in the Explanatory Note, which is "to embody reforms in the structure, organization and composition of the Judiciary, with the
aim of improving the administration of justice, of decongesting judicial dockets, and coping with the more complex problems on the
present and forseeable future cannot but "promote the welfare of society, since that is the final cause of law.
4

Hence, from the standpoint of The general utility and functional value of the Judiciary Reorganization Act, there should be no difficul ty,
doubt or disbelief in its legality and constitutionality. That there are ills and evils plaguing the judicial system is undeniable. The notorious
and scandalous congestion of court dockets as too well-known to be ignored as are the causes which create and produce such
anomaly. Evident is the need to look for devices and measures that are more practical, workable and economical.
5

From the figures alone (301,497 pending cases in 1976; 351, 943 in 1977; 404, 686 in 1978; 426, 911 in 1979; 441, 332 in 1980; and 450, 063
as of February 3, 1982)
6
the congested character of court dockets rising year after year is staggering and enormous, looming like a
legal monster.
But greater than the need to dispense justice speedily and promptly is the necessity to have Justices and Judges who are fair and
impartial, honest and incorruptible, competent and efficient. The general clamor that the prestige of the Judiciary today has
deteriorated and degenerated to the lowest ebb in public estimation is not without factual basis. Records in the Supreme Court attest
to the unfitness and incompetence, corruption and immorality of many dispensers of justice. According to the compiled data, the total
number of Justices and Judges against whom administrative charges have been filed for various offenses, misconduct, venalities and
other irregularities reaches 322. Of this total, 8 are Justices of the Court of Appeals, 119 CFI Judges, 2 Criminal Circuit Judges, 8CAR
Judges, 1 Juvenile & Domestic Relations Court Judge, 38 City Judges, and 146 Municipal Judges.
The Supreme Court has found 102 of them guilty and punished them with either suspension, admonition, reprimand or fine. The number
includes 1 CA Justice, 35 CFI Judges, 1 CCC Judge, 3 CAR Judges, 1 JDRC Judge, 9 City Judges and 53 Municipal Judges.
Seventeen (17) Judges have been ordered dismissed and separated from the service. And these are 3 CFI, 1CAR, 1 City Judge
and 12 Municipal Judges.
Going over these administrative proceedings, it took an average of two-year period from the filing of the charge to the dismissal of the
respondent. In one case, the proceedings were terminated after seven years. How long the pending administrative cases will be
disposed of, only time will tell as an increasing number of administrative cases are being filed by victims of judicial misconduct, abuse
and arbitrariness.
Excepting those who have been punished and dismissed from the service, there are many who have been castigated and censured in
final judgments of the Supreme Court upon appeal or review of the decisions, orders and other acts of the respondent courts, Justices
and Judges. To cite a few cases, Our decisions have categorically pronounced respondents' actuations, thus: "deplorable, giving no
credit to the Judiciary"
7
; applicable rules. The whole proceedings looked no more than a pre-arranged compromise between the
accused and the Judge to flaunt the law and every norm of propriety and procedure"
8
; "there was a deliberate failure of respondent
Judge to respect what is so clearly provided in the Rules of Court"
9
; "It is unfortunate that respondent Judge failed to acquaint himself
with, 01' misinterpreted, those controlling provisions and doctrines"
10
; "The failure of the respondent Municipal Judge to yield
obedience to authoritative decisions of the Supreme Court and of respondent Court of First Instance Judge and his deplorable
insistence on procedural technicalities was called down in L-49828, July 25, 1981. For peremptorily dismissing the third party complaint
on the ground that the motion to dismiss was 'well-taken' and respondent Judge did not elaborate, the Court remarked: "May his tribe
vanish."
11
In one case, We noted "There is here so something unusual, but far from palliating the gravity of the error incurred, it merely
exacerbated it. ... it did render the due process requirement nugatory, for instead of a fair and impartial trial, there was an Idle form, a
useless ceremony."
12

It is dishonorable enough to be publicly and officially rebuked but to allow these Judges and their ilk to remain and continue to preside
in their courtrooms is a disgrace to the Judiciary. It is to be deplored that the Supreme Court has not found time to exercise its power
and authority in the premises, for no charges or proceedings have been instituted against them. We have a list of these crooked
Judges whose actuations have been found to be patiently wrong and manifestly in-defeasible. There ought to be no objection or
compunction in weeding them out from the service. If they are not booted out now, it will take from here to eternity to clean this
Augean stable.
Candidly, one reason for writing this concurring opinion is to call attention to these evils, abuses and wrongs which are surreptitiously
but surely destroying the trust and faith of the people in the integrity of the entire Judiciary. Some members of the Court felt that these
revelations would be like washing dirty linen in public. But these facts are of public and official record nay court cases, and sooner or
later, Truth will come out.
In the light of these known evils and infirmities of the judiciary system, it would be absurd and unreasonable to claim that the legislators
did not act upon them in good faith and honesty of purpose and with legitimate ends. It is presumed that official duty has been
regularly performed.
13
The presumption of regularity is not confined to the acts of the individual officers but also applies to the acts of
boards, such as administrative board or bodies, and to acts of legislative bodies.
14
Good faith is always to be presumed in the
absence of proof to the contrary, of which there is none in the case at bar. It could not be otherwise if We are to accord as We must,
full faith and credit to the lawmakers' deep sense of public service and the judicious exercise of their high office as the duly-elected
representatives of the people.
It is conceded that the abolition of an office is legal if attendant with good faith.
15
The question of good faith then is the crux of the
conflict at bar. Good faith in the enactment of the law does not refer to the wisdom of the measure, the propriety of the Act, or to its
expediency. The questions raised by petitioners and amicus curiae for their cause, viz: Why abolish all the courts Why legislate out the
judges Why not amend the Rules of Court only Is abolition of all courts the proper remedy to weed out corrupt and misfits in our
Judiciary? may not be inquired into by Us. "It is not the province of the courts to supervise legislation and keep it within the bounds of
propriety and common sense. That is primarily and exclusively a legislative concern."
16
The Courts "are not supposed to override
legitimate policy and ... never inquire into the wisdom of the law."
17
Chief Justice Fernando who penned the Morfe decision, writes that
while "(i)t is thus settled, to paraphrase Chief Justice Concepcion in Gonzales v. Commission on Elections, that only congressional
power or competence, not the wisdom of the action taken, may be the basis for declaring a statute invalid,"
18
he adds that it is "useful
to recall what was so clearly stated by Laurel that 'the Judiciary in the determination of actual cases and controversies must reflect the
wisdom and justice of the people as expressed through their representatives in the executive and legislative departments of the
government.'"
19
In any case, petitioners have not shown an iota of proof of bad faith. There is no factual foundation of bad faith on
record. And I do not consider the statement in the sponsorship speech for Cabinet Bill No. 42 of Minister of Justice Ricardo J. Puno that
the Bill would be a more efficient vehicle of "eliminating incompetent and unfit Judges as indicative of impermissible legislative
motive.
20

It may be true that while the remedy or solution formulated by the legislation will eradicate hopefully or at least minimize the evils and
ills that infect and pester the judicial body, it will result in the actual removal of the Justices of the Court of Appeals and Judges of the
lower courts. It is also true that whether it is termed abolition of office or removal from office, the end-result is the same termination of
the services of these incumbents. Indeed, the law may be harsh, but that is the law. Dura lexsedlex.
The Justices and Judges directly affected by the law, being lawyers, should know or are expected to know the nature and concept of
a public office. It is created for the purpose of effecting the ends for which government has been instituted, which are for the common
good, and not the profit, honor or private interest of any one man, family or class of men. In our form of government, it is fundamental
that public offices are public trust, and that the person to be appointed should be selected solely with a view to the public
welfare.
21
In the last analysis, a public office is a privilege in the gift of the State.
22

There is no such thing as a vested interest or an estate in an office, or even an absolute right to hold office. Excepting constitutional
offices which provide for special immunity as regards salary and tenure, no one can be said to have any vested right in an office or its
salary. When an office is created by the Constitution, it cannot be abolished by the legislature, but when created by the State under
the authority of the Constitution, it may be abolished by statute and the incumbent deprived of his office.
23
Acceptance of a judicial
appointment must be deemed as adherence to the rule that "when the court is abolished, any unexpired term is abolished also. The
Judge of such a court takes office with that encumbrance and knowledge."
24
"The Judge's right to his full term and his full salary are
not dependent alone upon his good conduct, but also upon the contingency that the legislature may for the public good, in ordaining
and establishing the courts, from time to time consider his office unnecessary and abolish it."
25

The removal from office of the incumbent then is merely incidental to the valid act of abolition of the office as demanded by the
superior and paramount interest of the people. The bad and the crooked Judges must be removed. The good and the straight, sober
Judges should be reappointed but that is the sole power and prerogative of the President who, I am certain, will act according to the
best interest of the nation and in accordance with his solemn oath of office "to preserve and defend its Constitution, execute its laws,
do justice to everyone ... " There and then the proper balance between the desire to preserve private interest and the desideratum of
promoting the public good shall have been struck.
26

The Supreme Court has been called the conscience of the Constitution. It may be the last bulwark of constitutional government.
27
It
Must, however, be remembered "that legislatures are ultimate guardians of the liberties and welfare of the people in quite as great a
degree as courts."
28
The responsibility of upholding the Constitution rests not on the courts alone but on the legislatures as well. It
adheres, therefore, to the well-settled principle that "all reasonable doubts should be resolved in favor of the constitutionality of a
statute" for which reason it will not set aside a law as violative of the Constitution "except in a clear case."
29

Finally, I view the controversy presented to Us as a conflict of opinions on judicial independence, whether impaired or strengthened
by the law; on reorganization of the courts, whether abolition of office or removal therefrom, and on delegation of legislative power,
whether authorized or unauthorized. Without detracting from the merits, the force and brilliance of their advocacies based on logic,
history and precedents, I choose to stand on the social justification and the functional utility of the law to uphold its constitutionality. In
the light of contemporaneous events from which the New Republic emerged and evolved new Ideals of national growth and
development, particularly in law and government, a kind or form of judicial activism, perhaps similar to it, is necessary to justify as
the ratio decidendi of Our judgment.
This is the time and the moment to perform a constitutional duty to affix my imprimatur and affirmance to the law, hopefully an act of
proper judicial statesmanship.

ABAD SANTOS, J., concurring:
I agree with the learned Chief Justice of the Philippines that Batas PambansaBlg. 129 is not unconstitutional. Unlike Oscar Wilde, I
choose not to yield to temptation by embellishing my concurrence lest I be accrued of bringing coal to Newcastle. Accordingly, I will
simply vote to dismiss the petition
However, I cannot agree with the Chief Justice when he says:
... In the implementation of the assailed legislation, therefore it should be in accordance with accepted principles of
constitutional construction that as far as incumbent justices and judges are concerned, this Court be consulted and
that its view be accorded the fullest consideration. There would be no plausibility then to the allegation that there is
an unconstitutional taint to the challenged Act. Moreover, such a construction would be in accordance with the
basic principle that in the choice of alternatives between one which would save and another which would
invalidate a statute, the former is to be preferred.
It has already been ruled that the statute does not suffer from any constitutional infirmity because the abolition of certain judicial
offices was done in good faith. This being the case, I believe that the Executive is entitled to exercise its constitutional power to fill the
newly created judicial positions without any obligation to consult with this Court and to accord its views the fullest consideration. To
require consultation will constitute an invasion of executive territory which can be resented and even repelled. The implicit suggestion
that there could be an unconstitutional implementation of the questioned legislation is not congruent with the basic conclusi on that it
is not unconstitutional.

DE CASTRO, J., concurring:
I concur in the declaration that the law is not unconstitutional.
May I, however, submit this separate opinion more to avoid being misunderstood by my brethren in the judiciary as not feeling for them
as much concern as I should for their security of tenure which is raised as the main argument against the constitutionality of the law,
than by way of giving added force or support to the main opinion so well-written by Our learned Chief Justice in his usual scholarly
fashion. I, therefore, limit myself to a discussion that the assailed statue is not unconstitutional without having to suggest how it may be
implemented in order that it could stand the most rigid test of constitutionality, for in that area, what is involved is purely an executive
act of the President in whose wisdom, patriotism and sense of justice We should trust in how he would fulfill his sworn duties to see that
the laws are faithfully executed and to do justice to every man.
Moreover, while I also concur in the dismissal of the petition, I do so on the additional ground that petitioners have not fulfilled all the
requisites for the exercise by this Court of its power of judicial inquiry the power to declare a law unconstitutional.
I
The creation and organization of courts inferior to the Supreme Court is a constitutional prerogative of the legislature. This prerogative is
plenary and necessarily implies the power to reorganize said courts, and in the process, abolish them to give way to new or
substantially different ones. To contend otherwise would be to forget a basic doctrine of constitutional law that no irrepealable laws
shall be passed.
1

The power to create courts and organize them is necessarily the primary authority from which would thereafter arise the security of
tenure of those appointed to perform the functions of said courts. in the natural order of things, therefore, since the occasion to speak
of security of tenure of judges arises only after the courts have first been brought into being, the right to security of tenure takes a
secondary position to the basic and primary power of creating the courts to provide for a fair and strong judicial system. If the
legislature, in the exercise of its authority, deems it wise and urgent to provide for a new set of courts, and in doing so, it feels the
abolition of the old courts would conduce more to its objective of improving the judiciary and raising its standard, the matter involved
is one of policy and wisdom into which the courts, not even the Supreme Court, cannot inquire, much less interfere with. By this
secondary position it has to the primary power of the legislature to create courts, the security of tenure given to the incumbents should
not be a legal impediment to the exercise of that basic power of creating the statutory courts which, by necessary implication,
includes the power to abolish them in order to create new ones. This primary legislative power is a continuing one, and the resultant
right of security of tenure of those appointed to said courts could not bring about the exhaustion of that power. Unquestionably, the
legislature can repeal its own laws, and that power can never be exhausted without, as a consequence, violating a fundamental
precept of constitutional and representative government that no irrepealable laws shall be passed.
If the creation of courts is a legislative prerogative their abolition is, therefore, a matter of legislative intent. it involves the exercise of
legislative power, an act of legislation which generally concerns policy in the formation of which the courts have no say Initially, when
the legislature creates the courts, it suffers from no limitation arising from the necessity or respecting the security of tenure of judges who
are not yea there. This inherent character of fullness and plenitude of the power to create and abolish courts does not change when
that same power is once more exercised thereafter, as the need therefor is felt. Which only goes to show that when done in good faith
and motivated solely by the good and the well-being of the people, the exercise of the power is not meant to be restricted, curtailed,
much less exhausted by the so-called judicial security of tenure.
The passage of the Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980 is no more than the exercise of the power vested by the Constitution on the
legislative body of the Republic as described above. That power carries with it the duty and responsibility of providing the people with
the most effective and efficient system of administration of justice. This is by far of more imperative and transcedental importance than
the security of tenure of judges which, admittedly, is one of the factors that would conduce to independence of the judiciary but
first of all, a good, efficient and effective judiciary. A judiciary wanting in these basic qualities does not deserve the independence that
is meant only for a judiciary that can serve best the interest and welfare of the people which is the most primordial and paramount
consideration, not a judiciary in which the people's faith has been eroded, a condition which the security of tenure, in some instances,
may even be contributory.
In enacting the Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980, the legislature is presumed to have been motivated by no other objective than
to provide the people the kind of judicial machinery that would best serve their interest and welfare, in its belief that the present
machinery is falling short of that measure of public service. It should, likewise, be presumed that it has been led to this l ow estimate of
the utility and effectiveness of the present set-up of the judiciary after informing itself, with the facilities at its command, such as the
power of legislative investigation, of the actual condition of the courts, particularly as to whether they continue to enjoy the trust, faith
and confidence of the public, and what the cause or causes are of their erosion, if not loss, as is the keenly perceptible feeling of the
people in general. Responsibility for this more or less extensive slowdown of the delivery of judicial service can be laid on no other than
either of the two components of a court the procedural laws or rules that govern the workings of the courts, or the persons executing
or applying them or both.
When two interests conflict as what had given rise to the present controversy the duty of the legislature to provide society with a fair,
efficient and effective judicial system, on one hand, and the right of judges to security of tenure, on the other, the latter must of
necessity yield to the former. One involves public welfare and interest more directly and on a greater magnitude than the right of
security of tenure of the judges which is, as is easily discernible, more of a personal benefit to just a few, as indeed only the judge
affected could seek judicial redress of what he conceives to be its violation.
Herein lies the propriety of the exercise of "police power" of the State, if this concept which underlies even the Constituti on, has to be
invoked as a constitutional justification of the passage of the Act in question. That is, if a conflict between the primary power of the
legislature to create courts, and mere consequential benefit accorded to judges and justices after the creation of the courts is indeed
perceivable, which the writer fails to see, or, at least, would disappear upon a reconciliation of the two apparently conflicting interests
which, from the above disquisition is not hard to find. It is, without doubt, in the essence of the exercise of police power that a right
assertable by individuals may be infringed in the greater interest of the public good and general welfare. This is demonstrated in how
the rights and freedoms enumerated in the Bill of Rights enjoyable by The entire people, not just by a handful in comparison, are made
subject to the lawful exercise of the police power of the State.
Viewed, therefore, from the above-mentioned perspective, the general revamp of the judiciary involving both its components the
court as an office or institution, and the judges and justices that man them should not find any legal obstacle in the security of
tenure of judges. This security, after all, is no more than as provided for all other officials and employees in the civil service of the
government in Section 3, Article XII-B of the Constitution which provides:
No officer or employees in the civil service shall be suspended or dismissed except for cause as provided by law.
The provision of Article XVII, Section 10 of the Constitution gives to judicial officials no more than a guarantee that their retirement age
as fixed in the Constitution shall not be alterable at mere legislative pleasure. The equivalent provision in the 1935 Consti tution was
inserted for the first time because the retirement age before then was provided merely by statute not by the Constitution. If it comes to
their removal or suspension, what gives them constitutional protection is the aforequoted provision which does not contemplate
abolition of office when done in good faith, for removal implies the existence of the office, not when it is abolished. Admittedly, as has
been held, abolition of office for no reason related to public welfare or for the good of the service, let alone when done in bad faith,
amounts to an unlawful removal.
2
The abolition of the courts as declared in the Act as a result of a reorganization of the judiciary, as
the Title of the law curtly but announces, can by no means, from any viewpoint, be so branded. And whether by said reorganization,
the present would be deemed abolished, as the law expresses such an unmistakable intent, the matter is one for the sole and exclusive
determination of the legislature. It rests entirely on its discretion whether by the nature and extent of the changes it has introduced, it
has done enough to consider them abolished. To give the Supreme Court the power to determine the extent or nature of the changes
as to their structure, distribution and jurisdiction, before the clear intent to abolish them, or to declare them so abolished, is given effect,
would be to allow undue interference in the function of legislation. This would be contrary to the primary duty of courts precisely to give
effect to the legislative intent as expressed in the law or as my be discovered therefrom.
From the above observation, it would be futile to insist that the present courts would not effectively be abolished by the Act in
question. it might be to arrogate power for Us to say that the changes the law brings to the present judicial system, do not suffice for
this Court to give effect to the clear intent of the legislative body. Where would the agrarian courts, the circuit criminal courts, the
JDRC's be in the judicial structure as envisioned by the law? Are they not abolished by merger with the regional trial courts, which by
such merger, and by the other changes introduced by the law, would make said courts different from the present Courts of First
Instance which, as a consequence, may then be considered abolished Integrated as the present courts are supposed to be, changes
somewhere in the judicial machinery would necessarily affect the entire system.
The fact that the Supreme Court may specially assign courts to function as the special courts just mentioned, does not mean that the
changes wrought are only superficial or "cosmetic" as this term has been used so often in the oral argument. Without the new law,
these courts will remain fixed and permanent where they are at present. Yet in the course of time, the need for their independent
existence may disappear, or that by changed conditions, where they are needed at present at a certain place, the need for them
may be somewhere else in later years, if maximum benefit at the least expense is to be achieved, as always should be a most desirable
goal and objective of government.
Demonstrably then, the abolition of the courts is a matter of legislative intent into which no judicial inquiry is proper, except perhaps if
they intent is so palpably tainted with constitutional repugnancy, which is not so in the instant case. We have, therefore, no occasion,
as earlier intimated, to speak of removal of judges when the reorganization of the judiciary would result in the abolition of the courts
other than the Supreme Court and the Court of Tax Appeals. Hence, the provision of the Constitution giving to the Supreme Court
power to dismiss a judge by a vote of eight justices does not come into the vortex of the instant controversy. Its possible violation by the
assailed statute cannot happen, and may, therefore, not constitute an argument against the constitutionality of the law.
Former Justice Barrera, in a speech before the Philippine Bar Association,
3
impliedly indorsed the judicial revamp when he enumerated
the qualities of a good judge that the appointing power should consider in making new appointments to the judiciary upon its
reorganization pursuant to the questioned Act. The words of the eminent jurist may well reflect the favorable reaction of the public in
general to what the Act aim to achieve in the name of good and clean government. The present judicial incumbents, who have not in
any way, by their acts and behavior while in office, tarnished the good image that the judiciary should have, therefore, have no cause
for apprehension that what they are entitled to under the Constitution by way of security of tenure wig be denied them, considering
the publicly known aim and purpose of the massive judicial revamp, specially as cherished with deep concern by the President who
initiated the move when he created the Judiciary Reorganization Committee to recommend needed and appropriate judicial
reforms.
If the only obstacle to a verdict in favor of constitutionality of the law is its possible effect of impairing the security of tenure of the
incumbents, We may have the following facts to consider:
1. Under the 1973 Constitution all incumbent judges and justices may continue in office until replaced or reappointed by the President.
As to those judicial officials, no security of tenure, in the traditional concept, attaches to their incumbency which is, in a real sense, only
a holdover tenure. How the President has exercised this immense power with admirable restraint should serve as the strongest
guarantee of how justice and fairness will be his sole guide in implementing the law.
2. As to the rest of the incumbents, they are all appointees of Our present President, and he should feel concerned more than anyone
else to protect whatever rights they may rightfully claim to maintain their official standing and integrity. They need have no fear of
being ignored for no reason at all, much less for mere spirit of vindictiveness or lack of nobility of heart.
From the foregoing, it would become apparent that only in the implementation of the law may there possibly be a taint of
constitutional repugnancy as when a judge of acknowledged honesty, industry and competence is separated, because an act of
arbitrariness would thereby be committed, but the abolition of the courts as decreed by the law is not by itself or per se
unconstitutional.
Consequently, the law, the result of serious and concerned study by a highly competent committee, deserves to be given a chance to
prove its worth in the way of improving the judiciary. If in its implementation, any one, if at all, feels aggrieved, he can always seek
judicial redress, if he can make out a case of violation of his right of security of tenure with uncontrovertible clarity, as when the
separation is very arbitrary in the peculiar circumstances of his case, for an act of arbitrariness, under any constitution, is unpardonable.
This petition should also be dismissed for being premature, as is the stand of Justice Aquino. The petition asks this Court to exercise its
power of judicial inquiry, the power to declare a law unconstitutional when it conflicts with the fundamental law (People vs. Vera, 65
Phil. 56). This power has well-defined limits, for it can be exercised only when the following requisites are present, to wit: (1) There must
be an actual case or controversy; (2) The question of constitutionality must be raised by the proper party; (3) He should do so at the
earliest opportunity, and (4) The determination of the constitutionality of the statute must be necessary to a final determination of the
case.
I am of the opinion that the petition does not present an actual controversy nor was it filed by the proper parties.
The main ground for which the constitutionality of the Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980 is assailed is that it is violati ve of the security
of tenure of justices and judges. The only persons who could raise the question of consti tutionality of the law are, therefore, the actual
incumbents of the courts who would be separated from the service upon the abolition of the courts affected by the law, on the theory
as advanced by petitioners that their judicial security of tenure would be violated. Olongapo City Judge de la Llana, the only judge
among the petitioners, has not been separated from the service. Nor is his separation already a certainty, for he may be appointed to
the court equivalent to his present court, or even promoted to a higher court. Only when it has become certain that his tenure has
been terminated will an actual controversy arise on his allegation of a fact that has become actual, not merely probable or
hypothetical.
The present petition may neither be allowed as a taxpayer suit. A taxpayer may bring an action to raise the question of constitutionality
of a statute only when no one else can more appropriately bring the suit to defend a right exclusively belonging to him, and. therefore,
would localize the actual injury to his person, and to no other. For a "proper party" to invoke the power of judicial inquiry, as one of the
requisites in the exercise of such power, does not mean one having no better right, one more personalized, than what he has as a
member of the public in general. With the incumbent judges undoubtedly being the ones under petitioners' theory, who would suffer
direct and actual injury, they should exclude mere taxpayers who cannot be said to suffer as "direct" and "actual" an injury as the
judges and justices by the enforcement of the assailed statute, from the right to bring the suit.
The validity of the foregoing observation becomes more evident when We consider that only after the fate of the present incumbents
is known, whether they have been actually separated or not, would the present courts be declared abolished. For the law clearly
continues their existence until all the new courts have been filled up with new appointments, or at least such number as woul d be
equal to the number of actual incumbents, and they are the very courts to which they may lay claim to the right to continue therein,
so that the status of each and everyone of them has thereby been made certain. Only then, upon the actual abolition of the courts,
may there possibly be a violation of the security of tenure, as contented, that would give rise to an "actual controversy" in which the 6
improper party" can be no other than the judges who feel aggrieved by their non- appointment to the new courts.
It would, therefore, not be proper to declare the law void at this stage, before it has even been given a chance to prove its worth, as
the legislature itself and an those who helped by their exhaustive and scholarly study, felt it to be an urgent necessity, and before any
of the proper parties who could assail its constitutionality would know for a fact, certain and actual, not merely probable or
hypothetical, that they have a right violated by what they could possibly contend to be an unconstitutional enforcement of the law,
not by a law that is unconstitutional unto itself.
I am, therefore, for giving the law a chance to be put into application so as not to douse great popular expectations for the courts to
regain their highest level of efficiency had reputation for probity. Inevitably, this is to be so since only when the law is fully implemented
will all the courts affected be declared abolished, undoubtedly to avoid an interregnum when the country is without any court, except
the Supreme Court, the Court of Tax Appeals and the Sandigan. Only then will it be known whether an actual controversy would arise
because any of the incumbents have been left out in the restructured judiciary.
There would then be also a proper party to assail the constitutionality of the law, conformably to the conditions requisite for the
exercise of the power of judicial inquiry which by their stringent character, together with the constitutional prescription of a
comparatively higher vote to declare a law unconstitutional, reveal a salutary principle of government that a law should, by all
reasonable intendment and feasible means, be saved from the doom of unconstitutionality, the rule corollary thereto being that if a
law is susceptible to two interpretations, one of which would make it constitutional, that interpretation should be adopted that will not
kill the law.
It is to adhere to the above principles that the submission is made herein, that while in the implementation of the law, constitutional
repugnancy may not entirely be ruled out, a categorical ruling hereon not being necessary or desirable at the moment, the law itself is
definitely not unconstitutional.
4
Any of the incumbent judges who feel injured after the law shall have been implemented has
adequate remedy in law, with full relief as would be proper. But surely, the benefits envisioned by the law in the discharge of one of the
basic duties of government to the people the administration of justice should not be sacrificed, as it would be, if the law is, as
sought in the present petition, declared void right now, on the claim of a few of being allegedly denied a right, at best of doubtful
character, for the claim would seem to rest on an unsupportable theory that they have a vested right to a public office.
Just one more point. The law in question is not self-executing in the sense that upon its effectivity, certain judges and justices cease to
be so by direct action of the law. This is what distinguishes the Act in question from R.A. No. 1186 involved in the Ocampo case,
5
which
by its direct action, no act of implementation being necessary, all the judges whose positions were abolished, automatically ceased as
such. The Act in question, therefore, is not as exposed to the same vulnerability to constitutional attack as R.A. No. 1186 was. Yet by the
operation of the Constitution with its wise provision on how a law may be declared unconstitutional, R.A. No. 1186 stood the test for it to
be enforced to the fullness of its intent, which was, as in the law under consideration, Identified with publi c interest and general
welfare, through a more efficient and effective judicial system as the Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980 seeks to establish.
Hence, the constitutionality of the law should not be assailed, and the law itself, striken down, on the ground that some judges or
justices may be removed or separated in violation of their security of tenure. The law does not directly operate with Chat effect. It is in
how the law would be implemented that this feared eventuality may or may not occur. We would then be killing the law on a mere
speculation if We do so at this stage. This would be an injudicious act done in reckless disregard of the safeguards built around a law to
defend it when its constitutionality is attacked; first the presumption that a law is constitutional; second when a law is susceptible to two
interpretations one that would make it constitutional, the other, unconstitutional, the former should be adopted; and third, the
Constitution itself which ordains that a law may not be declared unconstitutional except on the vote of at least ten (10) members of
the Supreme Court, more than what is required for an ordinary decision of the Court en banc. This is not to mention the stringent
requisites for the exercise of the power of judicial inquiry as already adverted to, all designed to save the law from the dire fate of
unconstitutionality.
To the writer, the question before this Court is a simple matter of choosing between protecting some judges from possible separation,
as the implementation of the law to achieve its primary purpose of improving the judiciary may have to result in, or serving the interest
of the entire society through an honest, efficient and effective judiciary. For, it is unthinkable that what is for the good of the people as
a whole could have been meant by the Constitution to be sacrificed for the sake of only the few. The greatest good for the greatest
number is an unwritten rule, more firm and enduring than any of the postulates spread in our written Constitution. This, I might say, is the
main theme of this separate opinion, otherwise expressed in the well-known and time-honored maxim "Saluspopuli establish
supremalex."

MELENCIO-HERRERA, J., concurring:
There is unqualified adherence on my part to the dismissal of the Petition filed in this case. If I am writing this separate concurrence, it is
merely to state certain views I entertain in regards to the constitutionality of Batas PambansaBlg. 129.
The controversy in this case involves two constitutional provisions. Article X, Section 1, of the Organic law provides that the legislative
has the power to establish inferior Courts by law. Section 7 of the same Article reads:
SEC, 7. The Members of the Supreme Court and judges of inferior courts shall hold office during good behavior until
they reach the age of seventy years or become incapacitated to discharge the duties of their office. The Supreme
Court shall have the power to discipline judges of inferior courts and, by a vote of at least eight Members order their
dismissal.
There should be no conflict Between the two provisions. Both should be harmonized.
1. a) It is a fundamental proposition that the legislative power to create Courts ordinarily includes the power to organize and to
reorganize them, and that the power to abolish Courts is generally coextensive with the power to create them. The power to abolish
was not intended to be qualified by the permanence of tenure (Opinion of Chief Justice Ricardo Paras in Ocampo vs. Secretary of
Justice, 51 O.G. 147 [1955], citing McCulley vs. State, 53 SW 134; Halsey vs. Gaines 2 Lea 316). The right of Judges to hold office during
good behavior until they reach the age of 70 years, or become incapacitated to discharge the duties of their office, does not deprive
Congress of its power to abolish, organize or reorganize inferior Courts (Brillo vs. Enage, 94 Phil. 732, 735, citing Zandueta vs. de la Costa,
66 Phil. 615; 42 Am. Jur., Pub. Officer, 904-5). Judges of those Courts take office with that encumbrance and knowledge.
The legislative power to create a court carries with it the power to abolish it. When the court is abolished any
unexpired term is abolished also. The judge of such court takes office with that encumbrance and
knowledge. Perkins v. Corbin, 45 Ala 103, 6 Am. Rep. 698; State, ex rel. Thomas v. Gunter, 170 Ala. 165, 54 So 283, et
al."
The importance and the imperative of maintaining the independence of the Judiciary is undisputed. At the same time, the power of
Congress under the Constitution cannot be abridged. For, in the last analysis, it is not the security of tenure per se that is the only
safeguard to the independence of the Judiciary. It is the character and the mettle of the Judges who sit on the Bench. Has not the
impression been created in the public and that there are those who have abused the prerogatives of their judicial position knowing
that they are untouchables by virtue of the permanence of their tenure
b) A distinction should be made between tenure of Judges and tenure of Courts. Section 1 heretofore mentioned refers to the
"Judiciary" as a fundamental department of Government. Section 7 quoted above refers to the tenure of office of "individual" Judges
(inclusive of Justices of inferior Courts that is to say, tenure of office is a matter concerning the individual Judge. This "individuality"
character of Section 7 is supported by the clause that the Supreme Court has the power to discipline individual judges of inferior
Courts.
A legislature is not bound to give security of tenure to Courts. Courts can be abolished. In fact, the entire judicial system can be
changed. If that system can no longer admit of change, woe to the wheels of progress and the imperatives of growth in the
development of the Judiciary. To hold that tenure of Judges is superior to the l egislative power to reorganize is to render impotent the
exercise of that power.
It may even be stated that, under Section 7, supra, Judges are entailed to their Courts, from which they cannot be separated before
retirement age except as a disciplinary action for bad behavior. Under Section 1, Courts are not entailed to their Judges, because the
power of the legislative to establish inferior Courts presupposes the power to abolish those Courts. If an inferior Court is abolished, the
Judge presiding that Court will necessarily have to lose his position because the abolished Court is not entailed to him.
c) The constitutional guarantee of tenure of Judges applies only as their Courts exist. As long as those Courts exist, the Judges cannot
be ousted without just cause; that is the extent of the constitutional provision relative to security of tenure of Judges. Upon declaration
of the completion of the reorganization as provided for in the Reorganization Act, the affected Courts "shall be deemed automatically
abolished There being no Courts, there are no offices for which tenure of Judges may be claimed. By the abolition of those offices, the
rights to them are necessarily extinguished (Manalang vs. Quitoriano, 94 Phil. 903 [1954]).
2. I am satisfied that the challenged law was enacted by the BatasangPambansa in response to an urgent and pressing public need
and not for the purpose of affecting adversely the security of tenure of all Judges or legislating them out to the detriment of judicial
independence. It should riot be said of the BatasangPambansa that its power of abolition of Courts has been used to disguise an
unconstitutional and evil purpose to defeat the security of tenure of Judges. The Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1981 sufficiently
complies with the bona fide rule in the abolition of public office, as clearly explained in the main opinion. Besides, every presumption of
good faith in its actuations must be accorded a coordinate and coequal branch of government, supreme within the limits of its own
sphere, until that presumption is clearly overcome. There is no showing that the Reorganization Act was motivated for personal or
political reasons as to justify the interference by the Court (Garvey vs. Lowell, 199 Mass, 47, 85 N.E. 182, 127 A.S.R. 468; State vs. Eduards,
40 Mont. 287; 106 Pac. 695, 19 R.C.L. 236; Llanto vs. Dimaporo, 16 SCRA 599 [1966]). Public interest and public good, as the legislative
body views it, must be balanced with tenure of Judges, which is an individual right. Reverting to Section 1 and Section 7, supra, the
former is the weightier, because the "Judiciary" is of more importance to the welfare of the country than the tenure of office of an
individual Judge. If a Judge is removed without cause there can be damage to the public welfare to some extent, but maintenance
of a Court that does not meet the requirements of progressive Government, can cause incalculable prejudice to the people.
3. Nor does a conflict exist with the power of discipline vested in the Supreme Court by the present Constitution reading: the Supreme
Court shall have the power "to discipline Judges of inferior Courts, and, by a vote of at least 8 members, order their dismissal Absent the
Court, it would be futile to speak of the Supreme Court's power to discipline. Thus, where the legislature has willed that the Courts be
abolished, the power to discipline cannot pose an obstacle to the abolition. The power to discipline can come into play only when
there is removal from an existing judicial office but not when that it office is abolished. The reorganization of the judicial system with the
abolition of certain Courts is not an exercise of the power to discipline the Judges of the abolished Courts.
It is of significance to note that the power to dismissal vested in the Supreme Court by the 1973 Constitution is delimited by its power to
discipline. Absent any need for discipline and the power to dismiss does not exist. Being circumscribed in scope, it may well be asked:
does the grant of the power of discipline and dismissal in the Supreme Court deprive the executive of the power of removal? I s it not
more in keeping with the allocation of powers in our government to state that the Supreme Court shares its power to dismiss with the
executive power of removal? For is not the power of removal basically executive in nature, as an incident to the power of
appointment, which is the prerogative of the Chief Executive alone As in the case of appointments, Section 5 (6), Article X of the
Constitution provides that the Supreme Court shall appoint its officials and employees. However, is not this power shared with the
power of appointment of the executive who appoints some of the Court officials These questions could lend themselves to an in-depth
study in the proper case.
4. The abolition would be no deprivation either of due process of law. A public office cannot be regarded as the "property " of the
incumbent. A public office is not a contract (Segovia vs. Noel, 47 Phil. 543 [1925]). A public office is a public trust (Section 1, Article XIII.
1973 Constitution). It is a privilege in the gift of the State (Brown vs. Russell, 166 Mass. 14, 43 NE 1005, 32 LRA, 253 cited also in
Taada&Carreon, Political Law of the Philippines, Vol. 2, p. 537). The officers are the servants of the people and not their rulers (22 R.C.L.
378-379, cited in Martin, Administrative Law, Law on Public Officers and Election Law, p. 112, 1970 ed.). Besides, it bears stressing that
there is no removal from office but abolition of the office itself.
5. The questioned statute is in keeping with major reforms in other departments of government. "The thrust is on development." It is "the
first major reorganization after four generations." It does not provide for a piecemeal change, which could be ineffective. It goes to the
roots and does not just scratch the surface of our judicial system. Its main objectives are an improved administration of justice, the
"attainment of more efficiency in the disposal of cases, a reallocation of jurisdiction, and a revision of procedures which do not tend to
the proper meting out of justice." These aims are policy matters of necessity in the pursuit of developmental goals within the Judiciary.
6. The Reorganization Act reorganizing the entire judicial system excluding the Supreme Court, which is the only constitutional Court,
and the Sandiganbayan. It envisages institutional reforms in the Philippine judiciary. It does not simply change the names of the Courts.
The facts herein are dissimilar from those in Brillo vs. Enage (94 Phil. 732 [1954]) where the position of Justice of the Peace, although
ostensibly abolished, was merely changed to Municipal Judge after the municipality of Tacloban was converted into a city with its own
charter.
Significant among the institutional changes and procedural reforms are:
The Intermediate Appellate Court
This Court is now constituted into ten (10) divisions instead of fifteen (15), five members composing each division, and a majority vote of
three members being needed for a decision. This obviates the cumbersome procedure, in case of dissent, of assigning two other
members to compose a "division of five". It also allows flexibility in that any three members of a division, arriving at unanimity, can
promulgate a decision. Now provided for is specialization into four (4) Civil Cases Divisions, two (2) Criminal Cases Divisions and four (4)
Special Cases Divisions. The specialization is expected to contribute to the expeditious disposal of cases. The Court has been given
original jurisdiction to issue Writs of mandamus, prohibition, certiorari, habeas corpus, quo warranto and auxiliary writs or processes
whether or not in aid of its appellate jurisdiction. This would undoubtedly ease the burden of the Supreme Court where numerous such
cases are filed daily.
It has exclusive appellate jurisdiction over all final judgments, decisions, resolutions, orders or awards of quasi-judicial agencies,
instrumentalities, boards or commissions, except those falling within the exclusive appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court in
accordance with the Constitution.
The Intermediate Appellate Court would now have the power to try cases and conduct hearings, receive evidence and perform any
and all acts necessary to resolve factual issues raised in cases falling within its original and appellate jurisdiction, incl uding the power to
grant and conduct new trials or further proceedings (Sec. 9). This does away with the delays attendant to the remand of cases to the
lower trial Courts.
Regional Trial Courts
There are now thirteen (13) Judicial Regions, the same as the present administrative and BatasangPambansa Regions, instead of
sixteen (16) Judicial Districts.
A Judge is appointed to a region, which is his official station. This ensures mobility since a Judge may be assigned anywhere within the
Region without applying the constitutional limitation of six months. Additionally, -it can remedy temporary inequalities of caseloads in
trial Courts.
Specialized Courts are integrated into the Regional Trial Courts. Thus, Regional Trial Courts would try all cases within its jurisdiction unless
special cases are assigned to them, in which case, they remain as Branches of Regional Trial Courts. Special procedures and technical
rules governing special Courts will continue to remain applicable in Branches assigned those special cases.
Metropolitan Trial Courts
There is one Metropolitan Trial Court with several Branches for large urban areas. The appointment of Judges would be to a
Metropolitan Trial Court although a Judge may be assigned by the Supreme Court to any Branch of the Metropolitan Trial Court as
demanded by the exigencies of the service.
The Supreme Court may designate certain Branches of said Courts to exercise special jurisdiction over certain cases, unlike the present
set-up where special jurisdiction applies only to cases of traffic violations.
Municipal Trial Courts/Municipal Circuit Trial Courts
Municipal Trial Courts may now be designated by the Supreme Court to exercise special jurisdiction over certain cases, thereby
resulting in overall flexibility. They can also be circuitized with those in cities not forming part of metropolitan areas.
One notable change between the old and the new set up is that Judges of these Courts will now be Presidential appointees unli ke
presently where the incumbent Judges are merely designated by the Supreme Court in an Administrative Order to sit i n existing
Municipal Courts and Municipal Circuit Courts.
7. There are innovative features in the Act that commend themselves:
a) The confusing and illogical areas of concurrent jurisdiction between trial Courts have been entirely eliminated.
b) Under Section 39, there is a uniform period for appeal of fifteen (15) days counted from the notice of the final order, resolution,
award, judgment, or decision appealed from.
A record on appeal is no longer required to take an appeal. The entire original record is now to be transmitted.
c) Under Section 40, in deciding appealed cases, adoption by reference of findings of fact and conclusions of law as set forth in the
decision, order, or resolution appealed from, is also provided for. This will expedite the rendition of decisions in appealed cases.
d) Section 42 provides for "a monthly longevity pay equivalent to 5% of the monthly basic pay for Justices and
Judges of the courts herein created for each five years of continuous, efficient, and meritorious service rendered in the Judiciary,
Provided that, in no case shall the total salary of each Justice or Judge concerned, after this longevity pay is added, exceed the salary
of the Justice or Judge next in rank." Thus, Justices and Judges who may not reach the top, where unfortunately there is not enough
room for all, may have the satisfaction of at least approximating the salary scale of those above him depending on his length of
service,
8. But while the law itself as written is constitutional, the manner in which it will be administered should not be tainted with
unconstitutionality (Myles Salt Co. vs. Board of Commrs., 239 US 478, 60 L. Ed. 392, 36 Sct 204). To obviate the possibility of an
unconstitutional exercise of power the following safeguards are recommended and/or expected to be undertaken:
a) The President can be expected to indicate a reasonable time frame for the completion of the reorganization provided for in the Act
and the issuance of the corresponding implementing Order.
b) Appointments and their effectivity should be simultaneous with, or as close as possible, to the declaration by the President of the
completion of the reorganization under Section 44 to avoid any detriment to the smooth and continuous functioning of the judi cial
machinery.
c) The services of those not separated should be deemed uninterrupted, as recommended by the Committee on Judicial
Reorganization (Article XI of its Report).
9. For the speedy implementation of the law, the Supreme Court can be expected to submit to the President within thirty (30) days from
the date of finality of its Decision the staffing pattern for all Courts required by Section 43.
I am constrained to disagree with the suggestion of one of the amici curiae that the staffing pattern be made to include the names of
Judges. The staffing pattern for Judges is already clearly and explicitly provided in the law itself which enumerates the various Judges
and Justices in their hierarchical order. Furthermore, to include the superior positions of Judges would depart from the traditional
concept of a staffing pattern, which refers more to personnel organization and corresponding salaries of inferior employees. It is also
constitutionally objectionable in that it would interfere with the prerogative of appointment intrinsically executive in nature (Guevara
vs. Inocentes, 16 SCRA 379 [1966]; Government of the Philippines vs. Springer, 50 Phil. 259 [1927]). The President may not be deprived of,
nor be limited in, the full use of his discretion in the appointment of persons to any public office. Nothing should so trench upon
executive choice as to be, in effect, judicial designation.
10. A word of explanation. If I had resolved not to inhibit myself in this case upon motion filed by petitioners, it was because the
Committee on Judicial Reorganization, of which I was privileged to be a member, confined its work to the recommendation of options
and guidelines in the task of reorganization. The Committee had no part whatsoever in the drafting of the bill nor in the public hearings
conducted. In fact, some of its recommendations like the circuitization or regionalization of the Intermediate Appellate Court, the
appellation of members of the Judiciary, the confinement of the jurisdiction of the Intermediate Appellate Court merely to appellate
jurisdiction, the adoption of the system found in the United Kingdom and in Commonwealth countries of having a Court of general
jurisdiction with trial and appellate divisions, were not availed of in the final Act.
11. Lastly, but by no means the least, I entertain no doubt that reliance can be placed on the good faith of the President that all the
deserving, upon considerations of "efficiency, integrity, length of service and other relevant factors shall be appointed to a
strengthened and revitalized judicial system in the interest of public service; that appointments will not be unduly delayed; and that
appointees will be evaluated thoroughly to ensure quality and impartiality in the men and women who will keep vigil over our judicial
ramparts.

ERICTA, J., concurring:
I concur in the view that the Judiciary reorganization law is not unconstitutional. It does not violate the principle of security of tenure of
judges.
The Constitution grants to the BatasangPambansa the power to create courts inferior to the Supreme Court (Article X, Section 1). All
existing inferior courts were created by law. No law is irrepealable. The power to create an office includes the power to abolish the
same. (Urgelio vs. Osmea 9 SCRA 317; Maza vs. Ochave, 20 SCRA 142)
Security of tenure cannot be invoked when there is no removal of a public officer or employee but an abolition of his office.
(Manalang vs. Quitoriano, 94 Phil. 903; Cruz vs. Primicias, 23 SCRA 998; Baldoz vs. Office of the President, 78 SCRA 354, 362) A distinction
should be made between removal from office and abolition of an office. Removal implies that the office subsists after ouster, while, in
abolition, the office no longer exists thereby terminating the right of the incumbent to exercise the rights and duties of the office.
(Canonigo vs. Ramiro, 31 SCRA 278)
The power of the legislative branch of the government to abolish courts inferior to the Supreme Court has long been established.
(Ocampo vs. Secretary of Justice, 51 O.G. 147). What is only needed is that the abolition passes the test of good faith. it need only be
shown that said abolition of the courts is merely incidental to a bona fide reorganization. (Urgelio vs. Osmea supra.)
It is unthinkable to impute bad faith to the Presidential Committee on Judicial Reorganization composed of four (4) distinguished
members of the Supreme Court, the Minister of Justice and the Deputy Minister of Justice, and to the members of the
BatasangPambansa whose combined efforts after a careful study and deliberation resulted to the enactment of a bill now signed into
law as BatasangPambansaBlg. 129. In his sponsorship speech, Justice Ricardo C. Puno declared the objectives of the Judiciary
Reorganization Law to be the following: (1) the attainment of more efficiency in the disposal of cases; (2) the improvement in the
quality of decisions by the courts that will result from the easing of court dockets; and (3) structural changes to meet the exigencies of
present day Philippine Society and of the foreseeable future.
Admittedly, in the implementation of the law, some Judges and Justices may be adversely affected. But in a conflict between public
interest and the individual interest of some Judges and Justices, the public weal must prevail. The welfare of the people is the supreme
law.
The implementation of the law will entail appointments to the new courts. The power of appointment is the exclusive prerogati ve of the
President. The implementation of the law should be left exclusively to the wisdom, patriotism and statesmanship of the President.

PLANA, J., concurring:
As the lawmaking body has the power to create inferior courts and define, prescribe and apportion their jurisdiction, so it has the
power to abolish or replace them with other courts as long as the act is done in good faith and not for the purpose of attaining an
unconstitutional end. Good faith has thus become the crucial issue in the case at bar.
Upon an examination of the legislative history of Batas Pambansa 129, as has been done in the main opinion, it is manifest that actual,
not merely presumed good faith attended its enactment. On this basis, I concur in the opinion penned by the learned Chief Justice,
qualified only by the following observations:
1. Executive consultation with the Supreme Court. I believe the President is under no obligation to consult with the Supreme Court;
and the Supreme Court as such is not called upon to give legal advice to the President. Indeed, as the Supreme Court itself has said, it
cannot give advisory opinions (Bacolod Murcia Planters' Asso., Inc. vs. Bacolod Murcia milling Co., 30 SCRA 67; NWSA vs. Court of
Industrial Relations, 90 SCRA 629) even to the President.
In the drafting of the present Constitution, there was an attempt to vest the Supreme Court wi th the function of giving advisory
opinions. The framers of the Constitution, however, did not see fit to adopt the proposal.
If the President should consult the Supreme Court on the implementation of Batas Pambansa 129 and the Supreme Court should gi ve
its advice (leaving aside the question of procedure), I believe the President would be free to follow or disregard the advice; but, in
either case, there would be no guarantee that the implementing action would be upheld in one case or stricken down in the other.
2. Undue delegation of legislative powers.
The petitioners have also assailed the constitutionality of Batas Pambansa 129 on the ground that a provision thereof (regarding fixing
of compensation and allowances for members of the Judiciary) constitutes an undue delegation unto the President of legislative
power.
As pointed out in the main opinion, the legislature has provided ample standards or guidelines for the implementation of the
delegated power, which makes the delegation inoffensive. I would like to add however some observations on the doctrine of undue
delegation of legislative power.
Under the old Constitution, when the abiding rule was separation of legislative and executive powers, there was good reason to
maintain the doctrine of non-delegation of legislative power. Otherwise, the principle of separationof governmental powers could be
negated via unbridled delegation of legislative power. The 1973 Constitution has however radically changed the constitutional set-up.
There is now a commingling or fusion of executive and legislative powers in the hands of the same group of officials. Cabinet members
play a leading role in the legislative process, and members of the Batasan actively discharge executive functions. The Prime Minister
indeed must come from its ranks. Under the circumstances, there is really not much sense in rigidly upholding the principle of non-
delegation of legislative power, at least vis-a-vis the Executive Department. In a very real sense, the present Constitution has
significantly eroded the hoary doctrine of non-delegation of legislative power, although it has retained some provisions of the old
Constitution which were predicated on the principle of non-delegation, this time perhaps not so much to authorize shifting of power
and thereby correspondingly reduce the incidence of "undue" delegation of legislative power, as to avert the abdication thereof.
In times of war or other national emergency, the BatasangPambansa may by law authorize the President for a
limited period and subject to such restrictions as it may prescribe, to exercise powers necessary and proper to carry
out a declared national policy. Unless sooner withdrawn by resolution of the BatasangPambansa, such powers shall
cease upon its next adjournment. (Art. VIII, Sec. 15.)
The BatasangPambansa may by law authorize the President to fix within specified this and subject to such stations
and restrictions as it may impose, tariff rates, import and export quotas, tonnage and wharfage dues, and other
duties or imposts. [Ibid, Sec. 17(2).]

TEEHANKEE, J., dissenting:
Undoubtedly, no more crucial and transcendental issue of such magnitude has confronted the Philippine judiciary than in the present
case. The challenged Act, Batas PambansaBlg. 129 by its title would reorgani ze all existing courts (except the nine-member
Sandiganbayan
1
and the three- member Court of Tax Appeals) and upon declaration by the President of the completion of the
reorganization would unprecedentedly deem all the said courts "automatically abolished en masse and "the incumbents thereof shall
cease to hold office."
2
The total abolition involves a total of 1,663 judicial positions with 1,180 incumbent judges and 483 vacancies) as
of January 26, 1982 and the Act would effect an increase of 230 judicial positions raising the total of judicial positions to be filled by
new appointments to 1,893. Notwithstanding the great deference due to enactments of the Batasan, I regretably find myself unable to
join the ranks of my esteemed colleagues in the majority who uphold the constitutionality of the Act and have voted to dismiss the
petition, for the following main considerations and reasons:
1. I go by the ruling of the numerical majority of seven Justices (namely, Pablo, Cesar Bengzon, Montemayor, Jugo, Bautista, Roberto
Concepcion and J.B.L. Reyes, JJ.) in the leading 1955 case of Ocampo
3
who fell short by one vote to reach the constitutionally
required 2/3 majority (at the time 8 out of an 11-member Supreme Court) to declare unconstitutional and invalid section 3 of Republic
Act 1186 abolishing the positions of 18 judges-at-large and 15 cadastral judges and removing or legislating out the incumbent judges
from office as against the contrary vote of a minority of 4 Justices (namely, then Chief Justice Paras and Padilla, Alex Reyes and
Labrador, JJ.) with the paradoxical situation that the last three named Justices voted for the validity of the Act as a remedial measure
that abolished said positions without permanent station which subjected them to a rigodon de jueces without the consent of the
Supreme Court, which they considered as "repulsive to an independent judiciary" and violative of an express prohibitory provi sion of
the 1935 Constitution while Justice Alex Reyes conceded that otherwise he would go with the majority that "Congress may not, as a
general rule, abolish a judicial post without allowing the incumbent to finish his term of office."
2. As then Associate, later Chief Justice Cesar Bengzon remarked in his separate opinion "(T)he [adverse] outcome of this litigation
[sanctioning the ouster from office of the ten petitioners who were presiding different Courts of First Instance, some as judges-at-large,
others as cadastral judges, upon the enactment on June 19, 1954 of R.A. 1186 abolishing the positions of judges-at large and cadastral
judges] is apt to revive the speculation whether wittingly or unwittingly the Constitution has further weakened the usually weak judicial
department because of its 'innovative' requirement of a 2/3 majority vote of the Supreme Court to declare a statute unconstitutional,
and 'never in our history has such a number of judges of first instance [totalling 33 positions] been ousted through judicial
reorganization.
His rationale that the express constitutional guaranty of security of tenure of judges "during good behavior until they reach the age of
seventy years or become incapacitated to discharge the duties of their office"
4
must prevail over the implied constitutional authority
to abolish courts and to oust the judges despite their constitutionally-secured tenure bears repeating thus:
A careful analysis will perceive that whereas petitioners invoke an express guaranty or positivedefinition of their term
of office, the respondents rely on implied authority to abolish courts and the positions of the respective judges.
Accurately stated, respondents' defense rests on a secondinference deduced from such implied power, because
they reason out thusly: Congress has express power to establish courts; therefore it has implicit power to abolish
courts and the positions of judges of such abolished courts (first inference); and therefore (second inference)
Congress likewise has power to eject the judges holding such positions.
Resulting juridical situation. The implied authority invoked by respondents collides with the expressguaranty of tenure
protecting the petitioners. Which shall prevail Obviously the express guaranty must override the implied authority.
"Implications can never be permitted to contradict the expressed intent or to defeat its purpose."
xxxxxxxxx
But the collision may he should be avoided, and both sections given validity, if one be considered a proviso or
exception to the other. In other words, under the Constitution the Congress may abolish existing courts, provided it
does not thereby remove the incumbent judges; such abolition to take effect upon termination of their incumbent
The fundamental provisions on the matter are thereby coordinated and harmonized' as Justice Laurel suggested in
his concurring opinion in Zandueta v. De la Costa. To bring about reconciliations is the great work of jurists. (Cardozo,
Paradoxes of Legal Science, p. 6)
5

3. This reasoning that the express guaranty of tenure protecting incumbent judges during good behavior unless removed from office
after hearing and due process or upon reaching the compulsory retirement age of seventy years must override the implied authority of
removing by legislation the judges has been further strengthened and placed beyond doubt by the new provisions of the 1973
Constitution that transferred the administrative supervision over all courts and their personnel from the Chief Executive through the then
Secretary of Justice to the Supreme Court
6
and vested in the Supreme Court exclusively "the power to discipline judges of inferior
courts and, by a vote of at least eight members, order their dismissal,"
7
Which power was formerly lodged by the Judiciary Act in the
Chief Executive.
As former Chief Justice Bengzon stressed in his opinion in Ocampo, the 1934 Constitutional Convention "frowned on removal of judges
of first instance through abolition of their offices or reorganization," citing Professor Jose Aruego's observation that the security of judges'
tenure provision was intended to "help secure the independence of the judiciary" in that "during good behavior, they may not be
legislated out of office by the law-making body nor removed by the Chief Executive for any reason and under the guise of any
pretense whatsoever; they may stay in office until they reach the age of seventy years, or become incapacitated to discharge the
duties of their office. (Aruego, The Framing of the Philippine Constitution, Vol. 11, pp. 718-719)" He further cited Aruego's report that a
proposed amendment to the effect that the prohibition against transfers of judges to another district without the approval of the
Supreme Court
8
"should not be applicable to a reorganization of tribunals of justice or of districts, but the amendment was defeated
easily without debate"
9
and logically concluded that "(N)ow, there . before, having vetoed the transfer of judges thru a re-
organization, the Convention evidently could not have permitted the removal of judges thru re-organization.
Now, if the framers of the 1973 Constitution wished to dispel the strong doubts, to say the least in the light of the 7 to 4 vote in
the Ocampo case against removal of incumbent judges through legislative action by abolition of their courts, then they would have so
clearly provided for such form of removal in the 1973 Constitution, but on the contrary as already stated they ruled out such removal or
ouster of judges by legislative action by vesting exclusively in the Supreme Court the power of discipline and removal of judges of all
inferior courts.
4. This being so, the fundamental point emphasized by former Chief Justice Bengzon that abolition of the 33 judicial positions in
the Ocampo case was "merely an indirect manner of removing the petitioners-judges" while the "positions [that] were eliminated . . .
were in fact substituted or replaced by other positions of judges" applies with greater force in the case at bar which involves an
unprecedented total "abolition," thus: "(C)all it reorganization, or legislation or removal or abolition, this law disregards the constitutional
assurance that these judges, once appointed, shall hold office during good behavior ... [unless incapacitated and until retirement].
The abolition of their offices was merely an indirect manner of removing these petitioners. Remember that on June 19, 1954, there were
107 judges of first instance, district judges, judges at-large and cadastral judges (Rep. Act 296). After the passage of Republic Act No.
1186 there were 114 positions of judges of first instance. There was no reduction there was increase in the number of judges, nor in
the number of courts. The positions of Judges-at-Large and Cadastral Judges were eliminated; but they were in fact substituted or
replaced by other positions of judges; or if you please, there was a mere change of designation from 'Cadastral Judge or Judge at
large to district judge Hence it should be ruled that as their positions had not been 'abolished' de facto, but actually retained with
another name, these petitioners are entitled to remain in the service. (Brillo v. Enage, G.R. No. L-7115, March 30, 1954.) For it is not
permissible to effect the removal of one judge thru the expediency of abolishing his office even as the office with same power is
created with another name.(Brillo v. Enage, Malone v. Williams, 118 tenn. 391, Gibbe's Case 4 A.L.R. p. 211). In this view of the picture,
we believe, Congress could have, and should haveas suggested by Secretary Tuazon during the hearings in Congress directed in said
Republic Act No. 1186 that 'the present judges-at-large and cadastral judges shall become district judges presiding such districts as
may be fixed by the President with the consent of the Commission on Appointments or by the Secretary of Justice, as originall y
proposed by Senator Laurel in connection with the same bill. Something similar was done before, and it would not be objectionable as
an encroachment on the President's prerogative of appointment, because such judges had already been appointed to the judiciary
before the passage of the act, and the provision may be construed in the light of mere change of official designation plus increase in
salary."
5. Concededly, the questioned Act effects certain changes and procedural reforms with more specific delineation of jurisdicti on as
mentioned particularly in the majority opinion, but they do not change the basic structure of the existing courts. The present Municipal
Courts, Municipal Circuit Courts and City Courts are restructured and redesignated as Municipal Trial Courts and Municipal Ci rcuit Trial
Courts and Metropolitan Trial Courts in the challenged Act. The Courts of First Instance, Circuit Criminal Courts, Juvenile & Domestic
Relations Courts and Courts of Agrarian Relations are all restructured and redesignated to be known by the common name of
Regional Trial Courts with provision for certain branches thereof "to handle exclusively criminal cases, juvenile and domestic relations
cases, agrarian cases, urban land reform cases . . . . and/or such other special cases as the Supreme Court may determine in the
interest of a speedy and efficient administration of justice"
10
and the Court of Appeals is restructured and redesignated as the
Intermediate Appellate Court with an increase in the number of Appellate Justices from the present 45 to 50 but with a reduction of
the number of divisions from 15 (composed of 3 Justices each) to 10 (composed of 5 members each) such that it is feared that there is
created a bottleneck at the appellate level in the important task discharged by such appellate courts as reviewers of facts.
In my view, the "candid admission" by the Chief Justice in his opinion for the Court "that he entertained doubts as to whether the
intermediate court of appeals provided for is a new tribunal"
10
a is equally applicable to all the other above mentioned courts
provided for in the challenged Act as "new courts". And the best proof of this is the plain and simple transitory provision i n section 44
thereof that upon the President's declaration of completion of the reorganization (whereby the "old courts" shall "be deemed
automatically abolished and the incumbents thereof shall cease to hold office "(T)he cases pending in the old Courts shall be
transferred to the appropriate Courts constituted pursuant to this Act, together with the pertinent functions, records, equipment,
property and the necessary personnel together with the "applicable appropriations." This could not have been possible without a
specification and enumeration of what specific cases of the "old courts" would be transferred to the particular "new courts," had these
"new courts" not been manifestly and substantially the "old courts" with a change of name or as described by Justice Barredo to
have been his first view, now discarded, in his separate opinion: "just a renaming, and not a substantial and actual modification or
alteration of the present judicial structure or system" or "a rearrangement or remodeling of the old structure."
11

6. I do not subscribe to the test of good faith or bad faith in the abolition of the courts and consequent ouster of the incumbent judges
from office as expounded by the late eminent Justice Jose P. Laurel in his separate concurring opinion in the pre-war case
of Zandueta
12
wherein the Court dismissed the petition for quo warranto on the ground of petitioner Zandueta's estoppel and
abandonment of office.
13
Realistically viewed from the basis of the established legal presumptions of validity and constitutionality of
statutes (unless set aside by a 2/3 majority of 10 members of the Supreme Court) and of good fai th in their enactment, one is hard put
to conjure a case where the Court could speculate on the good or bad motives behind the enactment of the Act without appearing
to be imprudent and improper and declare that "the legislative power of reorganization (is) sought to cloak an unconstitutional and
evil purpose." The good faith in the enactment of the challenged Act must needs be granted. What must be reconciled is the
legislative power to abolish courts as implied from the power to establish them with the express constitutional guaranty of tenure of the
judges which is essential for a free and independent judiciary. Adherents of the Rule of Law are agreed that indispensable for the
maintenance of the Rule of Law is a free and independent judiciary, sworn to protect and enforce. it without fear or favor "free, not
only from graft, corruption, ineptness and incompetence but even from the tentacles of interference and insiduous influence of the
political powers that be to quote again from Justice Barredo's separate concurring opinion.
14
Hence, my adherence to the 7-member
majority opinion of former Chief Justice Bengzon in the Ocampo case, supra, as restated by the Philippine Association of Law Professors
headed by former Chief Justice Roberto Concepcion that "any reorganization should at least snow the incumbents of the existing
courts to remain in office [the appropriate counterpart 'new courts'] unless they are removed for cause."
7. The "judges' broader and stronger guarantees of tenure than ordinary civil servants" as stressed by former Chief Justice Bengzon in Ms
majority opinion in Ocampo is based on the judiciary's status as a coequal and coordinate branch of government, whereas the long
line of Philippine cases upholding the legislative power to abolish offices refers to officers or employees in the executive branch of
government and "the underlying consideration must be borne in mind that Manalang [the aggrieved petitioner] belonged to the
Executive Department and because the President approved the law no question or encroachment by one branch on the other could
be apprehended or alleged.
15
This is not a matter of personal privilege for the incumbent judges but as aptly stated by former U.P. Law
Dean Irene Cortez in her memorandum as amicus curiae, "for the judiciary whose independence is not only eroded but is in grave
danger of being completely destroyed." Dean Cortez aptly stressed that "judicial independence is not a guarantee intended for the
Supreme Court alone, it extends to the entire court system and is even more vital to the courts at the lowest levels because there are
more of them and they operate closest to the people," and "(P)articularly under the present form of modified parliamentary
government with legislative and executive functions overlapping and in certain areas merging, the judiciary is left to perform the
checking function in the performance of which its independence assumes an even more vital importance. "
The extensive memoranda filed by Dean Cortez and other amici curiae such as former Senator Jose W. Diokno who strongly urges the
Court to strike down the Act "to prevent further destruction of judicial independence," former Senator Lorenzo Sumulong, president of
the Philippine Constitution Association who advocates for the Court's adoption of the B Bengzon majority opinion in the Ocampo case
so as to abide by "the elementary rule in the interpretation of constitutions that effect should be given to all parts of the Constitution"
and that the judges' security of tenure guaranty should not be rendered meaningless and inoperative" former Solicitor General Arturo
A. Alafriz, president of the Philippine Lawyers' Association who submits that the total abolition of all courts below the Supreme Court
(except the Sandiganbayan and the Court of Tax Appeals) and the removal of the incumbent Justices and Judges "violates the
independence of the judiciary, their security of tenure and right to due process guaranteed them by the Constitution" and Atty. Raul
M. Gonzales, president of the National Bar Association of the Philippines who invokes the Declaration of Delhi at the ICJ Conference in
1959, that "The principles of unremovability of the Judiciary and their Security of Tenure until death or until a retiring age fixed by statute
is reached, is an important safeguard of the Rule of Law" have greatly helped in fortifying my views.
8. I had submitted in my memo of September 4, 1980 to the Presidential Committee on Judicial Reorganization that "(W)hatever
reorganization plans the committee may recommend to meet the worldwide problem of congested court dockets, and to improve
judicial services in the public interest, it should be borne in mind that the members of the judiciary as the weakest branch of
government, yet called upon to safeguard the people's rights and protect them oppression, official and otherwise, are entitled to
security of tenure as guaranteed by the Constitution. Even though the lower courts may be reshuffled or abolished in the process, the
mandate and spirit of the Constitution guaranteeing their security of tenure and maintaining the independence of the judiciary should
be respected, and they should be retained in the new courts."
In the same vein, Dean Cortez warned of the dire consequences of giving the questioned provisions of the Act the "absolutist sense
which they appear to have at first blush" thus: "(T)o accept legislative power to abolish courts asserted under Batas PambansaBlg. 129
which sweeps through practically the entire judiciary would be to open the door to future court abolitions in the guise of
reorganization. At this stage of our political development, the process of embarking upon a modified parliamentary system may well
usher in a situation where despite guarantees of judicial tenure, each ruling party in the legislature or any alliance that can command
a majority vote may periodically undertake complete reorganization and remove judges, thus making of the judiciary a veritabl e straw
in the political wind and "(F)urthermore, what can result in the modified parliamentary system from the close working relationship
between executive and legislature is made manifest in Batas PambansaBlg. 129. If the sweeping revamp provided were to be carried
out the President would appoint all of the justices and judges of the courts affected and the whole membership in the judiciary from
the highest to the lowest courts would be his appointees. It is relevant to point out that it is precisely a situation like this that the
Constitution seeks to avoid when it provides staggered terms for the chairman and members of the constitutional commissions which
like the judiciary are guaranteed independence."
9. The judges' security of tenure was rendered nugatory by the Transitory Provisions of the 1973 Constitution which granted the
incumbent President the unlimited power to remove and replace all judges and officials
16
(as against the limited one-year period for
the exercise of such power granted President Quezon in the 1935 Constitution upon establishment of the Philippine Commonwealth
Upon the declaration of martial law in September, 1972, justices and judges of all courts, except the Supreme Court, had been
required to hand in their resignations. There is listed a total of 53 judges who were replaced or whose resignations were accepted by
the President during the period from September, 1972 to April, 1976. The power to replace even the judges appointed after the
effectivity on January 17, 1973 of the 1973 Constitution is yet invoked on behalf of the President in the pending case of Tapucar vs.
Famador
17
notwithstanding the generally held view that such post-1973 Constitution appointed judges are not subject to the
Replacement Clause of the cited Transitory Provision. (In this case, petitioner judge appointed on January 30, 1976 as judge of the
Court of First Instance of Agusan del Norte and Butuan City, Branch 1, invoked his constitutional security of tenure and questioned the
appointment extended on February 26, 1980 to respondent to replace him, although he had not been removed or otherwise dismissed
from his position nor had be resigned therefrom. The Court per its March 27, 1980 resolution ordered both to refrain from discharging the
functions of the questioned office And now comes this total abolition of 1,663 judicial positions (and thousands of personnel positions)
unprecedented in its sweep and scope. The urgent need is to strengthen the judiciary with the restoration of the security of tenure of
judges, which is essential for a free and independent judiciary as mandated by the Constitution, not to make more enfeebled an
already feeble judiciary, possessed neither of the power of the sword nor the purse, as decried by former Chief Justice Bengzon in
his Ocampo majority opinion:
Shall we have judges of the type of Lord Coke Or judges, who, in his place, would have answered 'I'll do what his
majesty pleases,' judges who, afraid of ouster thru a judiciary reshuffle, would rather serve the interests of the party in
power or of the political boss, than the interests of justice?
As it is, the Judicial Department is feeble enough. Shall we render it feebler with judges precariously occupying their
official seats Judges performing their duties under the sword of Damocles of future judicial reorganizations
10. The Chief Justice, in his opinion for the Court, equally stressed that "what is equally apparent is that the strongest ties bind the
executive and legislative departments. It is likewise undeniable that the BatasangPambansa retains its full authority to enact whatever
legislation may be necessary to carry out national policy as usually formulated in a caucus of the majority party. It is understandable
then why in Fortun vs. Labang
18
it as stressed that with the provision transferring to the Supreme Court administrative supervision over
the Judiciary, there is a greater need 'to preserve unimpaired the independence of the judiciary, especially so at present, where to all
intends and purposes, there is a fusion between the executive and the legislative branches,'"
19
with the further observation that "many
are the ways by which such independence could be eroded." In the cited case of Judge Fortun (likewise penned by the Chief Justice
for the Court), the Court issued a writ of prohibition and certiorari ordering the dismissal of the criminal compl aint filed with respondent
fiscal Labang by "disgruntled members of the bar with a record of losing cases" in the judge's court and imposed the penalty of
censure on each and everyone of the private respondents-lawyers for the "unseemly haste" with which they filed the criminal
complaint, abetted by "the appearance of sheer vindictiveness or oppressive exercise of state authority." The Court marked the
"violation of the cardinal principles of fairness and due process that underlie the Rule of Law. Petitioner-Judge was not heard; he was
denied the opportunity to defend himself against the accusation. There was, on the part of private respondents then, a failure to abide
by a Resolution of the Integrated Bar stressing that precisely integration could shield 'the judiciary which traditionally cannot defend
itself except within its own forum, from the assaults that politics and self-interest may level at it, and assist it to maintain its integrity,
impartiality and independence,' " and that such subjection of a judge to public "harassment and humiliation . . . can diminish public
confidence in the courts."
11. This brings us to the allegedly underlying need for B.P. Blg. 129 discussed in the course of committee hearings of Cabinet Bill No. 42
and the deliberation on second reading in the BatasangPambansa to rid the judiciary of incompetent and corrupt judges and to
restore confidence in the integrity of the courts. The purge has been the constant subject of headlines and editorials, with the Ministry
of Justice's Integrity Council reportedly screening and conducting "integrity tests as to new applicants and the incumbent judges
20
and
seeking "confidential information on corrupt and incompetent judges to help the government purge the judiciary."
21
Prime Minister
Cesar Virata was quoted as saying that "there will be a purge of the corrupt and the misfits' when the Judiciary Reorganization Act is
signed into law by President Marcos and implemented in coordination with the Supreme Court."
22
The public respondents' answer
sidesteps the issue of such purge contravening the rudiments of a fair hearing and due process and submits that "no term of office is
sacrosanct when demanded before the altar of the public good." The metropolitan papers reported the "anxiety gripping the judiciary
as the Ministry of Justice has reportedly been asked to collate information 'on the performance of the judges and on the qual ifications
of those slated to take over the positions of the incompetent, the inefficient or those involved in irregularities. As stated in an editorial,
'Somehow, the uncertainty that now hovers over the judiciary has unduly subjected the judges to mental torture since they do not
know when or whether the axe will fall on them. Worse, the sword of Damocles hanging over their heads could provoke them into
seeking the help of people claiming to have influence with the powers that be."
23

But Dean Cortez in her memorandum states that "However, nowhere on public record is there hard evidence on this. The only figures
given in the course of the committee hearings were to the effect that out of some 1,700 members of the judiciary, between 10 to 15
were of the undesirable category, i.e. misfit, incompetent or corrupts. (Barredo, J., before the Committee on Justice, human Rights and
Good Government, December 4, 1980)," and that "(I)f this be the case, the unprecedented, sweeping and wholesale abolition of
judicial offices becomes an arbitrary act, the effect of which is to assert the power to remove all the incumbents guilty or innocent
without due process of law." Now would it be of any avail to beg the question and assert that due process is not available in mass
abolitions of courts.
Justice Barredo, however, without citing any hard evidence, refers in his separate concurrence to twin objectives of getting rid of "
structural inadequacies of the system or of the cumbersomeness and technicality-peppered and dragging procedural rules in force
and of "a good number of those occupying positions in the judiciary (who') make a mockery of justice and take advantage of their
office for personal ends He adds that "it is my personal assessment of the present situation in our judiciary that its reorganization has to
be of necessity two-pronged, as I have just indicated, for the most Ideal judicial system with the most perfect procedural rules cannot
satisfy the people and the interests of justice unless the men who hold positions therein possess the character, competence and sense
of loyalty that can guarantee their devotion to duty and absolute impartiality, nay, impregnability to all temptations of graft and
corruption, including the usual importunings and the fearsome albeit improper pressures of the powers that be,"
24
and invokes the
adage of "grandes males, grandesremedios" to now uphold the validity of the Act.
Former Senator Diokno in his memorandum anticipates the argument that "great ills demand drastic cures" thus: "Drastic, yes but not
unfair nor unconstitutional. One does not improve courts by abolishing them, any more than a doctor cures a patient by killing him. The
ills the judiciary suffers from were caused by impairing its independence; they will not be cured by totally destroying that
independence. To adopt such a course would only breed more perversity in the administration of justice, just as the abuses of martial
rule have bred more subversion."
12. Finally, as stated by the 19-i 5 integrated Bar of the Philippines 2nd House of Delegates, "It would, indeed, be most ironical if Judges
who are called upon to give due process cannot count it on themselves. Observance of procedural due process in the separation of
misfits from (he Judiciary is the right way to attain a laudable objective. '
As stressed by the Chief Justice in the Fortun case, judges are entitled to the cardinal principles of fairness and due process and the
opportunity to be heard and defend themselves against the accusations made against their and not to be subjected to harassment
and humiliation, and the Court will repudiate the "oppressive exercise of legal authority." More so, are judges entitled to such due
process when what is at stake is their constitutionally guaranteed security of tenure and non-impairment of the independence of the
judiciary and the proper exercise of the constitutional power exclusi vely vested in the Supreme Court to discipline and remove judges
after fair hearing.
In sum, I see no reason to change the stand submitted by me to the Presidential Committee on Judicial Reorganization that
Judges of inferior courts should not be summarily removed and branded for life in such reorganization on the basis of confidential
adverse reports as to their performance, competence or integrity, save those who may voluntarily resign from office upon being
confronted with such reports against them. The trouble with such ex-parte reports, without due process or hearing, has been proven
from our past experience where a number of honest and competent judges were summarily removed while others who were generally
believed to be basket cases have remained in the service; and
The power of discipline and dismissal of judges of all inferior courts, from the Court of Appeals down, has been vested by the 1973
Constitution in the Supreme Court, and if the judiciary is to be strengthened, it should be left to clean its own house upon complaint
and with the cooperation of the as grieved parties and after due process and hearing.
The constitutional confrontation and conflict may wen be avoided by holding that since the changes and provisions of the challenged
Act do not substantially change the nature and functions of the "new courts" therein provided as compared to the "abolished old
courts" but provide for procedural changes, fixed delineation of jurisdiction and increases in the number of courts for a more effective
and efficient disposition of court cases, -the incumbent judges guaranteed security of tenure require that they be retained in the
corresponding "new courts."
Fernandez, J., concur.


Separate Opinions
BARREDO, J., concurring:
I join the majority of my brethren in voting that the Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980, Batas PambansaBlg. 129, is not
unconstitutional as a whole nor in any of its parts.
The issue of unconstitutionality raised by petitioners relates particularly to Section 44 of the Act which reads as follows:
SEC. 44. Transitory provisions. The provisions of this Act shall be immediately carried out in accordance with an
Executive Order to be issued by the President. The Court of Appeals, the Courts of First Instance, the Circuit Criminal
Courts, the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Courts, the Courts of Agrarian Relations, the City Courts, the Municipal
Courts, and the Municipal Circuit Courts shall continue to function as presently constituted and organized, until the
completion of the reorganization provided in this Act as declared by the President. Upon such declaration, the said
courts shall be deemed automatically abolished and the incumbents thereof shall cease to hold office. The cases
pending in the old Courts shall e transferred to the appropriate Courts constituted pursuant to this Act, together with
the pertinent functions, records, equipment,.property and the necessary personnel.
The applicable appropriations shall likewise be transferred to the appropriate courts constituted pursuant to this Act,
to be augmented as may be necessary from the funds for organizational changes as provided in Batas
PambansaBlg. 80. Said funding shall thereafter be included in the annual General Appropriations Act.
It is contended by petitioners that the provision in the above section which mandates that "upon the declaration upon the President
that the reorganization contemplated in the Act has been completed), the said courts (meaning the Court of Appeals and all other
lower courts, except the Sandiganbayan and the Court of Tax Appeals) shall be deemed abolished and the incumbents thereof shall
cease to hold office" trenches on all the constitutional safeguards and guarantees of the independence of the judiciary, such as the
security of tenure of its members (Section 7, Article X of the Philippine Constitution of 1973), the prerogatives of the Supreme Court to
administratively supervise all courts and the personnel thereof (Section 6, Id.) and principally, the power of the Supreme Court "to
discipline judges of inferior courts and, by a vote of at least eight Members, order their dismissal. " (Section 7, Id.)
On the other hand, respondents maintain that thru the above-quoted Section 44. the Batasan did nothing more than to exercise the
authority conferred upon it be Section I of the same Article of the Constitution which provides that The Judicial power shall be rested in
one Supreme Court and in such inferior courts as may be established by law." In other words, since all inferior courts are, constitutionally
speaking, mere creatures of the law (of the legislature it follows that it is within the legislature's power to abolish or reorganize them
even if in so doing, it might result in the cessation from office of the incumbents thereof before the expiration of their respective
constitutionally fixed tenures. Respondents emphasize that the legislative power in this respect is broad and indeed plenary.
Viewing the problem before Us from the above perspectives, it would appear that our task is either (1) to reconcile, on the one hand,
the parliament's power of abolition and reorganization with, on the other, the security of tenure of members of the judiciary and the
Supreme Court's authority to discipline and remove judges or (2) to declare that either the power of the Supreme Court or of the
Batasan is more paramount than that of the other. I believe. however, that such a manner of looking at the issue that confronts Us only
confuses and compounds the task We are called upon to perform. For how can there be a satisfactory and rational reconciliation of
the pretended right of a judge to continue as such, when the position occupied by him no longer exists? To suggest, as some do, that
the solution is for the court he is sitting in not to be deemed abolished or that he should in some way be allowed to continue to function
as judge until his constitutional tenure expires is obviously impractical, if only because we would then have the absurd spectacle of a
judiciary with old and new courts functioning under distinct set-ups, such as a district court continuing as such in a region where the
other judges are regional judges or of judges exercising powers not purely judicial which is offensive to the Constitution. The other
suggestion that the incumbent of the abolished court should be deemed appointed to the corresponding new court is even worse,
since it would deprive the appointing authority, the president, of the power to make his own choices and would, furthermore, amount
to an appointment by legislation which is a Constitutional anachronism. more on this point later .
Inasmuch as pursuant to the analysis of the majority of the Members of this Court, in fact and in law, the structure of judicial system
created by Batas Pambansa 129 is substantially different from that under the Judiciary Act of 1948, as amended, hence the courts now
existing are actually being abolished, why do We have to indulge in any reconciliation or feel bound to determine whose power, that
of the BatasangPambansa or that of this Court, should be considered more imperious? It being conceded that the power to create or
establish carries with it the power to abolish, and it is a legal axiom, or at least a pragmatic reality that the tenure of the holder of an
office must of necessity end when his office no longer exists, as I see it, be have no alternative than to hold that petitioners' invocation
of the independence of the judiciary principle of the Constitution is unavailing ill the cases at bar. It is as simple as that. I might hasten
to add, in this connection, that to insist that what Batas Pambansa 129 is doing is just a renaming and not a substantial and actual
modification or alteration of the present judicial structure or system assuming a close scrutiny might somehow support such a
conclusion, is pure wishful thinking, it being explicitly and unequivocally provided in the section in question that said courts are deemed
abolished" and further, as if to make it most unmistakably emphatic, that "the incumbents thereat shall cease to hold office." Dura les,
sed les. As a matter of fact, I cannot conceive of a more emphatic way of manifesting and conveying the determined legislative
intent about it.
Now, why am I yielding to the above reasoning and conclusion? Why don't I insist on championing the cause of the independence of
the judiciary by maintaining that the constitutional safeguards thereof I have already enumerated earlier must be respected i n any
reorganization ordained by the parliament My answer is simple. Practically all the Members of the Court concede that what is
contemplated is not only general reorganization but abolition in other words, not only a rearrangement or remodelling of the old
structure but a total demolition thereof to be followed by the building of a new and different one. I am practically alone in
contemplating a different view. True, even if I should appear as shouting in the wilderness, I would still make myself a hero in the eyes of
man justices and judges, members of the bar and concerned discerning citizens, all lovers of the judicial independence, but
understandably, I should not be, as I am not, disposed to play such a role virtually at the expense not only of my distinguished
colleagues but of the BatasangPambansa that framed the law and, most of all, the President who signed and, therefore, sanctioned
the Act as it is, unless I am absolutely sure that my position is formidable, unassailable and beyond all possible contrary ratiocination,
which I am not certain of, as I shall demonstrate anon.
To start with, the jurisprudence, here and abroad, touching on the question now before Us cannot be said to be clear and consistent,
much less unshakeable and indubitably definite either way. None of the local cases
1
relied upon and discussed by the parties and by
the Members of the Court during the deliberations, such as Borromeo,
2
Ocampo,
3
Zandueta,
4
Brillo,
5
etc. can, to my mind, really serve
as reliable pole stars that could lead me to certainty of correctness.
Of course, my instinct and passion for an independent judiciary are uncompromising and beyond diminution. Indeed, my initial
reactions, publicly known, about Batas Pambansa 129 explaining academically its apparent tendency to invade the areas of authority
of the Supreme Court, not to speak of its dangerously impairing the independence of the judiciary, must have, I imagine, created the
impression that I would vote to declare the law unconstitutional. But, during the deliberations of the Court, the combined wisdom of my
learned colleagues was something I could not discount or just brush aside. Pondering and thinking deeper about all relevant factors, I
have come to the conviction that at least on this day and hour there are justifiable grounds to uphold the Act, if only to try how it will
operate so that thereby the people may see that We are one with the President and the Batasan in taking what appear to be
immediate steps needed to relieve the people from a fast spreading cancer in the judiciary of our country.
Besides, the Philippines has somehow not yet returned to complete normalcy The improved national discipline so evident during the
earlier days of martial law, has declined at a quite discernible degree. Different sectors of society are demanding urgent reforms in
their respective field And about the most vehement and persistent, loud and clear, among their gripes, which as a matter of fact is
common to all of them is that about the deterioration in the quality of performance of the judges manning our courts and the slow and
dragging pace of pending judicial proceedings. Strictly speaking, this is, to be sure, something that may not necessarily be related to
lack of independence of the judiciary. It has more to do with the ineptness and/or corruption among and corruptibility of the men
sitting in the courts in some parts of the country And what is worse, while in the communities concerned the malady is known to
factually exist and is actually graver and widespread, very few, if any individuals or even associations and organized groups, truly
incensed and anxious to be of help, have the courage and possess the requisite legal evidence to come out and file the
corresponding charges with the Supreme Court, And I am not vet referring to similar situations that are not quite openly known but
nevertheless just as deleterious. On the other hand, if all these intolerable instances should actually be formally brought to the Supreme
Court, it would be humanly impossible for the Court to dispose of them with desirable dispatch, what with the thousands of other cases
it has to attend to and the rather cumbersome strict requirements of procedural due process it has to observe in each and every such
administrative case all of which are time consulting. Verily, under the foregoing circumstances, it may be said that there is justification
for the patience of the people about the possibility of early eradication of this disease or evil in our judiciary pictured above to be
nearing the breaking point.
Withal, we must bear in mind that judicial reorganization becomes urgent and inevitable not alone because of structural inadequacies
of the system or of the cumbersomeness and technicality-peppered and dragging procedural rules in force, but also when it becomes
evident that a good number of those occupying positions in the judiciary, make a mockery of justice and take advantage of their
office for selfish personal ends and yet, as already explained, those in authority cannot expeditiously cope with the situati on under
existing laws and rules. It is my personal assessment of the present situation in our judiciary that its reorganization has to be of necessity
two-pronged, as I have just indicated, for the most Ideal judicial system with the most perfect procedural rules cannot satisfy the
people and the interests of justice unless the men who hold positions therein possess the character, competence and sense of loyalty
that can guarantee their devotion to duty and absolute impartiality, nay, impregnability to an temptations of graft and corruption,
including the usual importunings and the fearsome albeit improper pressures of the powers that be. I am certain that the Filipino
people feel happy that Batas Pambansa 129 encompasses both of these objectives, which indeed are aligned with the foundation of
the principle of independence of the judiciary.
The above premises considered, I have decided to tackle our problem from the viewpoint of the unusual situation in which our
judiciary is presently perilously situated. Needless to say, to all of us, the Members of the Court, the constitutional guarantees of security
of tenure and removal only by the Supreme Court, among others, against impairment of the independence of the judiciary, which is
one of the bedrock's and, therefore, of the essence in any "democracy under a regime of justice, peace, liberty and equality
(Preamble of the 1973 Constitution), are priceless and should be defended, most of all by the Supreme Court, with all the wisdom and
courage God has individually endowed to each of Us. Withal, we are all conscious of the fact that those safeguards have never been
intended to place the person of the judge in a singular position of privilege and untouchability, but rather, that they are essentially part
and parcel of what is required of an independent judiciary where judges can decide cases and do justice to everyone before
them ruatcaelum. However, We find Ourselves face to face with a situation, in our judiciary which is of emergency proportions and to
insist on rationalizing how those guarantees should be enforced under such a circumstance seem to be difficult, aside from being
controversial. And so, in a real sense, We have to make a choice between adhering to the strictly legalistic reasoning pursued by
petitioners, on the one hand, and the broader and more practical approach, which as I have said is within the spirit at least of the
Constitution.
My concept of the Constitution is that it is not just a cluster of high sounding verbiages spelling purely Idealism and nobility in the
recognition of human dignity, protection of individual liberties and providing security and promotion of the general welfare under a
government of laws. With all emphasis and vehemence, I say that the fundamental law of the land is a living instrument which
translates and adapts itself to the demands of obtaining circumstances. It is written for all seasons, except for very unusual instances
that human ratiocination cannot justify to be contemplated by its language even if read in its broadest sense and in the most liberal
way. Verily, it is paramount and supreme in peace and in war, but even in peace grave critical situations arise demanding recourse to
extraordinary solutions. Paraphrasing the Spanish adage, "Grandes males, grandesremedios ", such in ordinary problems justify
exceptional remedies. And so, history records that in the face of grave crises and emergencies, the most constitutionally Idealistic
countries have, at one time or another, under the pressure of pragmatic considerations, adopted corresponding realistic measures,
which perilously tether along the periphery of their Charters, to the extent of creating impressions, of course erroneous, that the same
had been transgressed, although in truth their integrity and imperiousness remained undiminished and unimpaired.
The Philippines has but recently had its own experience of such constitutional approach. When martial law was proclaimed here in
1972, there were those who vociferously shouted not only that the President had acted arbitrarily and without the - required factual
bases contemplated in the Commander-in-Chief clause of the 1935 Constitution, but more, that he had gone beyond the traditional
and universally recognized intent of said clause by utilizing his martial law powers not only to maintain peace and tranquili ty and
preserve and defend the integrity and security of the state but to establish a New Society The critics contended that martial law is only
for national security, not for the imposition of national discipline under a New Society.
Due to its relevancy to Our present discussion, it is well for everyone to bear in mind that in this jurisdiction, this concept of martial law
has already been upheld several times by this Court. 1, for one, accepted such a construction because I firmly believe that to impose
martial law for the sole end of suppressing an insurrection or rebellion without coincidentally taking corresponding measures to
eradicate the root causes of the uprising is utter folly, for the country would still continue to lay open to its recurrence.
I have made the foregoing discourse, for it is fundamentally in the fight of this Court's doctrines about the imposition of martial law as I
have stated that I prefer to base this concurrence. To put it differently, if indeed there could be some doubt as to the correctness of
this Court's judgment that Batas Pambansa 129 is not unconstitutional, particularly its Section 44, I am convinced that the critical
situation of our judiciary today calls for solutions that may not in the eyes of some conform strictly with the letter of the Constitution but
indubitably justified by its spirit and intent. As 1 have earlier indicated, the Charter is not just a construction of words to whose literal iron-
clad meanings we must feel hidebound without regard to every Constitution's desirable inherent nature of adjustability and
adaptability to prevailing situations so that the spirit and fundamental intent and objectives of the framers may remain alive. Batas
Pambansa 129 is one such adaptation that comes handy for the attainment of the transcendental objectives it seeks to pursue While,
to be sure, it has the effect of factually easing out some justices and judges before the end of their respective constitutional tenure
sans the usual administrative investigation, the desirable end is achieved thru means that, in the light of the prevailing conditions, is
constitutionally permissible.
Before closing, it may not be amiss for me to point out that Batas PambansaBlg. 129, aside from what has been discussed about its
effect on the guarantees of judicial independence, also preempts, in some of its provisions, the primary rule-making power of the
Supreme Court in respect to procedure, practice and evidence. With the pardon of my colleagues, I would just like to say that the
Court should not decry this development too much. After all, the legislature is expressly empowered by the Charter to do so, (Section
5(5), Article X of the Constitution of 1973) so much so, that I doubt if the Court has any authority to alter or modify any rule the
BatasangPambansa enunciates. Truth to tell, as Chairman of the Committee on the Revision of the Rules of Court, for one reason or
another, principally the lack of a clear consensus as to what some of my colleagues consider very radical proposals voiced by me or
my committee, We have regrettably procrastinated long enough in making our procedural rules more practical and more conducive
to speedier disposal and termination of controversies by dealing more with substantial justice.
So also have We, it must be confessed, failed to come up to expectations of the framers of the Constitution in our ways of disposing of
administrative complaints against erring and misconducting judges. Of course, We can excuse Ourselves with the explanation that not
only are We overloaded with work beyond human capability of its being performed expeditiously, but that the strict requisites of due
process which are time consuming have precluded Us from being more expeditious and speedy.
I feel I must say all of these, because if the above-discussed circumstances have not combined to create a very critical situation in our
judiciary that is making the people lose its faith and confidence in the administration of justice by the existing courts, perhaps the Court
could look with more sympathy at the stand of petitioners. I want all the sundry to know, however, that notwithstanding this decision,
the independence of the judiciary in the Philippines is far from being insubstantial, much less meaningless and dead. Batas Pambansa
129 has precisely opened our eyes to how, despite doubts and misgivings, the Constitution can be so construed as to make it possible
for those in authority to answer the clamor of the people for an upright judiciary and overcome constitutional roadblocks more
apparent than real.
To those justices, judges, members of the bar and concerned citizens whose eyes may be dimming with tears of disappointment and
disenchantment because of the stand I have chosen to adopt in these cases, may I try to assuage them by joining their fervent prayers
that some other day, hopefully in the near future, Divine Providence may dictate to another constitutional convention to write the
guarantees of judicial independence with ink of deeper hue and words that are definite, clear, unambiguous and unequivocal, i n
drawing the line of demarcation between the Parliament and the Judiciary in the manner that in His Infinite wisdom would most
promote genuine and impartial justice for our people, free, not only from graft, corruption, ineptness and incompetence but even from
the tentacles of interference and insiduous influence of the political powers that be. Presently, I am constrained from going along with
any other view than that the Constitution allows abolition of existing courts even if the effect has to be the elimination of any
incumbent judge and the consequent cutting of his constitutional tenure of office.
I cannot close this concurrence without referring to the apprehensions in some quarters about the choice that will ultimately be made
of those who will be eased out of the judiciary in the course of the implementation of Batas Pambansa 129. By this decision, the Court
has in factual effect albeit not in constitutional conception yielded generally to the BatasangPambansa, and more specificall y to the
President, its own constitutionally conferred power of removal of judges. Section 44 of the Batasan's Act declares that all of them shall
be deemed to have ceased to hold office, leaving it to the President to appoint those whom he may see fit to occupy the new courts.
Thus, those who will not be appointed can be considered as "ceasing to hold their respective offices", or, as others would say they
would be in fact removed. How the President will make his choices is beyond Our power to control. But even if some may be eased out
even without being duly informed of the reason therefor, much less being given the opportunity to be heard the past actuations of the
President on all matters of deep public interest shouted serve as sufficient assurance that when lie ultimately acts, he will faithfully
adhere to his solemn oath "to do justice to every man hence, lie will equip himself first with the fullest reliable informati on before acts.
This is not only my individual faith founded on my personal acquaintance with the character and sterling qualities of President
Ferdinand E. Marcos. I dare say this is the faith of the nation in a man who has led it successfully through crises and emergencies, with
justice to all, with malice towards none. I am certain, the President will deal with each and every individual to be affected by this
reorganization with the best light that God will give him every moment he acts in each individual case as it comes for his decision

AQUINO, J., concurring:
I concur in the result. The petitioners filed this petition for declaratory relief and prohibition "to declare the Judiciary Reorganization Act
of 1980 (Batas PambansaBlg. 129) unconstitutional".
The petition should have been dismissed outright because this Court has no jurisdiction to grant declaratory relief and prohibition is not
the proper remedy to test the constitutionality of the law. the petition is premature. No jurisdictional question is involved.
There is no justiciable controversy wherein the constitutionality of the said law is in issue. It is presumed to be constitutional. The
lawmaking body before enacting it looked into the constitutional angle.
Seven of the eight petitioners are practising lawyers. They have no personality to assail the constitutionality of the said l aw even as
taxpayers.
The eighth petitioner, Gualberto J. de la Llana, a city judge (who in 1977 filed a petition for declaratory relief assailing Presidential
Decree No. 1229, which called for a referendum. De la Llana his Comelec, 80 SCRA 525), has no cause of action for prohibition. He is
not being removed from his position.
The Judiciary Reorganization Law was enacted in utmost good faith and not "to cloak an unconstitutional and evil purpose As ably
expounded by the Chief Justice, in enacting the said law, the lawmaking body acted within the scope of its constitutional powers and
prerogatives.

GUERRERO, J., concurring:
I concur with my distinguished and learned colleagues in upholding the constitutionality of the Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980.
For the record, however, I would like to state my personal convictions and observations on this case, a veritable landmark case, for
whatever they may be worth.
The legal basis of the Court's opinion rendered by our esteemed Chief Justice having been exhaustively discussed and decisively
justified by him, a highly-respected expert and authority on constitutional law, it would be an exercise in duplication to reiterate the
same cases and precedents. I am then constrained to approach the problem quite differently, not through the classic methods of
philosophy, history and tradition, but following what the well-known jurist, Dean Pound, said that "the most significant advance in the
modern science of law is the change from the analytical to the functional attitude."
1
And in pursuing this direct
ion, I must also reckon with and rely on the ruling that "another guide to the meaning of a statute is found in the evil which it is designed
to remedy, and for this the court properly looks at contemporaneous events, the situation as it existed, and as it was pressed upon the
attention of the legislative body."
2

I have no doubt in my mind that the institutional reforms and changes envisioned by the law are clearly conducive to the promotion of
national interests. The objectives of the legislation namely: (a) An institutional restructuring by the creation of an Intermediate Appellate
Court, thirteen (I 3) Regional Trial Courts, Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts: (b) A
reappointment of jurisdiction geared towards greater efficiency: (c) A simplification of procedures and (d) The abolition of the inferior
courts created by the Judiciary Act of 1948 and other statutes, as approved by the Congress of the Philippines
3
are undoubtedly
intended to improve the regime of justice and thereby enhance public good and order. Indeed, the purpose of the Act as further
stated in the Explanatory Note, which is "to embody reforms in the structure, organization and composition of the Judiciary, with the
aim of improving the administration of justice, of decongesting judicial dockets, and coping with the more complex problems on the
present and forseeable future cannot but "promote the welfare of society, since that is the final cause of law.
4

Hence, from the standpoint of The general utility and functional value of the Judiciary Reorganization Act, there should be no difficulty,
doubt or disbelief in its legality and constitutionality. That there are ills and evils plaguing the judicial system is undeniable. The notorious
and scandalous congestion of court dockets as too well-known to be ignored as are the causes which create and produce such
anomaly. Evident is the need to look for devices and measures that are more practical, workable and economical.
5

From the figures alone (301,497 pending cases in 1976; 351, 943 in 1977; 404, 686 in 1978; 426, 911 in 1979; 441, 332 in 1980; and 450, 063
as of February 3, 1982)
6
the congested character of court dockets rising year after year is staggering and enormous, looming like a
legal monster.
But greater than the need to dispense justice speedily and promptly is the necessity to have Justices and Judges who are fair and
impartial, honest and incorruptible, competent and efficient. The general clamor that the prestige of the Judiciary today has
deteriorated and degenerated to the lowest ebb in public estimation is not without factual basis. Records in the Supreme Court attest
to the unfitness and incompetence, corruption and immorality of many dispensers of justice. According to the compiled data, the total
number of Justices and Judges against whom administrative charges have been filed for various offenses, misconduct, venalities and
other irregularities reaches 322. Of this total, 8 are Justices of the Court of Appeals, 119 CFI Judges, 2 Criminal Circuit Judges, 8CAR
Judges, 1 Juvenile & Domestic Relations Court Judge, 38 City Judges, and 146 Municipal Judges.
The Supreme Court has found 102 of them guilty and punished them with either suspension, admonition, reprimand or fine. The number
includes 1 CA Justice, 35 CFI Judges, 1 CCC Judge, 3 CAR Judges, 1 JDRC Judge, 9 City Judges and 53 Municipal Judges.
Seventeen (17) Judges have been ordered dismissed and separated from the service. And these are 3 CFI, 1CAR, 1 City Judge
and 12 Municipal Judges.
Going over these administrative proceedings, it took an average of two-year period from the filing of the charge to the dismissal of the
respondent. In one case, the proceedings were terminated after seven years. How long the pending administrative cases will be
disposed of, only time will tell as an increasing number of administrative cases are being filed by victims of judicial misconduct, abuse
and arbitrariness.
Excepting those who have been punished and dismissed from the service, there are many who have been castigated and censured in
final judgments of the Supreme Court upon appeal or review of the decisions, orders and other acts of the respondent courts, Justices
and Judges. To cite a few cases, Our decisions have categorically pronounced respondents' actuations, thus: "deplorable, giving no
credit to the Judiciary"
7
; applicable rules. The whole proceedings looked no more than a pre-arranged compromise between the
accused and the Judge to flaunt the law and every norm of propriety and procedure"
8
; "there was a deliberate failure of respondent
Judge to respect what is so clearly provided in the Rules of Court"
9
; "It is unfortunate that respondent Judge failed to acquaint himself
with, 01' misinterpreted, those controlling provisions and doctrines"
10
; "The failure of the respondent Municipal Judge to yield
obedience to authoritative decisions of the Supreme Court and of respondent Court of First Instance Judge and his deplorable
insistence on procedural technicalities was called down in L-49828, July 25, 1981. For peremptorily dismissing the third party complaint
on the ground that the motion to dismiss was 'well-taken' and respondent Judge did not elaborate, the Court remarked: "May his tribe
vanish."
11
In one case, We noted "There is here so something unusual, but far from palliating the gravity of the error incurred, it merely
exacerbated it. ... it did render the due process requirement nugatory, for instead of a fair and impartial trial, there was an Idle form, a
useless ceremony."
12

It is dishonorable enough to be publicly and officially rebuked but to allow these Judges and their ilk to remain and continue to preside
in their courtrooms is a disgrace to the Judiciary. It is to be deplored that the Supreme Court has not found time to exercise its power
and authority in the premises, for no charges or proceedings have been instituted against them. We have a list of these crooked
Judges whose actuations have been found to be patiently wrong and manifestly in-defeasible. There ought to be no objection or
compunction in weeding them out from the service. If they are not booted out now, it will take from here to eternity to clean this
Augean stable.
Candidly, one reason for writing this concurring opinion is to call attention to these evils, abuses and wrongs which are surreptitiously
but surely destroying the trust and faith of the people in the integrity of the entire Judiciary. Some members of the Court felt that these
revelations would be like washing dirty linen in public. But these facts are of public and official record nay court cases, and sooner or
later, Truth will come out.
In the light of these known evils and infirmities of the judiciary system, it would be absurd and unreasonable to claim that the legislators
did not act upon them in good faith and honesty of purpose and with legitimate ends. It is presumed that official duty has been
regularly performed.
13
The presumption of regularity is not confined to the acts of the individual officers but also applies to the acts of
boards, such as administrative board or bodies, and to acts of legislative bodies.
14
Good faith is always to be presumed in the
absence of proof to the contrary, of which there is none in the case at bar. It could not be otherwise if We are to accord as We must,
full faith and credit to the lawmakers' deep sense of public service and the judicious exercise of their high office as the duly-elected
representatives of the people.
It is conceded that the abolition of an office is legal if attendant with good faith.
15
The question of good faith then is the crux of the
conflict at bar. Good faith in the enactment of the law does not refer to the wisdom of the measure, the propriety of the Act, or to its
expediency. The questions raised by petitioners and amicus curiae for their cause, viz: Why abolish all the courts Why legislate out the
judges Why not amend the Rules of Court only Is abolition of all courts the proper remedy to weed out corrupt and misfits in our
Judiciary? may not be inquired into by Us. "It is not the province of the courts to supervise legislation and keep it within the bounds of
propriety and common sense. That is primarily and exclusively a legislative concern."
16
The Courts "are not supposed to override
legitimate policy and ... never inquire into the wisdom of the law."
17
Chief Justice Fernando who penned the Morfe decision, writes that
while "(i)t is thus settled, to paraphrase Chief Justice Concepcion in Gonzales v. Commission on Elections, that only congressional
power or competence, not the wisdom of the action taken, may be the basis for declaring a statute invalid,"
18
he adds that it is "useful
to recall what was so clearly stated by Laurel that 'the Judiciary in the determination of actual cases and controversies must reflect the
wisdom and justice of the people as expressed through their representatives in the executive and legislative departments of the
government.'"
19
In any case, petitioners have not shown an iota of proof of bad faith. There is no factual foundation of bad faith on
record. And I do not consider the statement in the sponsorship speech for Cabinet Bill No. 42 of Minister of Justice Ricardo J. Puno that
the Bill would be a more efficient vehicle of "eliminating incompetent and unfit Judges as indicative of impermissible legislative
motive.
20

It may be true that while the remedy or solution formulated by the legislation will eradicate hopefully or at least minimize the evils and
ills that infect and pester the judicial body, it will result in the actual removal of the Justices of the Court of Appeals and Judges of the
lower courts. It is also true that whether it is termed abolition of office or removal from office, the end-result is the same termination of
the services of these incumbents. Indeed, the law may be harsh, but that is the law. Dura lexsedlex.
The Justices and Judges directly affected by the law, being lawyers, should know or are expected to know the nature and concept of
a public office. It is created for the purpose of effecting the ends for which government has been instituted, which are for the common
good, and not the profit, honor or private interest of any one man, family or class of men. In our form of government, it is fundamental
that public offices are public trust, and that the person to be appointed should be selected solely with a view to the public
welfare.
21
In the last analysis, a public office is a privilege in the gift of the State.
22

There is no such thing as a vested interest or an estate in an office, or even an absolute right to hold office. Excepting constitutional
offices which provide for special immunity as regards salary and tenure, no one can be said to have any vested right in an office or its
salary. When an office is created by the Constitution, it cannot be abolished by the legislature, but when created by the State under
the authority of the Constitution, it may be abolished by statute and the incumbent deprived of his office.
23
Acceptance of a judicial
appointment must be deemed as adherence to the rule that "when the court is abolished, any unexpired term is abolished also. The
Judge of such a court takes office with that encumbrance and knowledge."
24
"The Judge's right to his full term and his full salary are
not dependent alone upon his good conduct, but also upon the contingency that the legislature may for the public good, in ordaining
and establishing the courts, from time to time consider his office unnecessary and abolish it."
25

The removal from office of the incumbent then is merely incidental to the valid act of abolition of the office as demanded by the
superior and paramount interest of the people. The bad and the crooked Judges must be removed. The good and the straight, sober
Judges should be reappointed but that is the sole power and prerogative of the President who, I am certain, will act according to the
best interest of the nation and in accordance with his solemn oath of office "to preserve and defend its Constitution, execute its laws,
do justice to everyone ... " There and then the proper balance between the desire to preserve private interest and the desideratum of
promoting the public good shall have been struck.
26

The Supreme Court has been called the conscience of the Constitution. It may be the last bulwark of constitutional government.
27
It
Must, however, be remembered "that legislatures are ultimate guardians of the liberties and welfare of the people in quite as great a
degree as courts."
28
The responsibility of upholding the Constitution rests not on the courts alone but on the legislatures as well. It
adheres, therefore, to the well-settled principle that "all reasonable doubts should be resolved in favor of the constitutionality of a
statute" for which reason it will not set aside a law as violative of the Constitution "except in a clear case."
29

Finally, I view the controversy presented to Us as a conflict of opinions on judicial independence, whether impaired or strengthened
by the law; on reorganization of the courts, whether abolition of office or removal therefrom, and on delegation of legislative power,
whether authorized or unauthorized. Without detracting from the merits, the force and brilliance of their advocacies based on logic,
history and precedents, I choose to stand on the social justification and the functional utility of the law to uphold its constitutionality. In
the light of contemporaneous events from which the New Republic emerged and evolved new Ideals of national growth and
development, particularly in law and government, a kind or form of judicial activism, perhaps similar to it, is necessary to justify as
the ratio decidendi of Our judgment.
This is the time and the moment to perform a constitutional duty to affix my imprimatur and affirmance to the law, hopefully an act of
proper judicial statesmanship.

ABAD SANTOS, J., concurring:
I agree with the learned Chief Justice of the Philippines that Batas PambansaBlg. 129 is not unconstitutional. Unlike Oscar Wilde, I
choose not to yield to temptation by embellishing my concurrence lest I be accrued of bringing coal to Newcastle. Accordingly, I will
simply vote to dismiss the petition
However, I cannot agree with the Chief Justice when he says:
... In the implementation of the assailed legislation, therefore it should be in accordance with accepted principles of
constitutional construction that as far as incumbent justices and judges are concerned, this Court be consulted and
that its view be accorded the fullest consideration. There would be no plausibility then to the allegation that there is
an unconstitutional taint to the challenged Act. Moreover, such a construction would be in accordance with the
basic principle that in the choice of alternatives between one which would save and another which would
invalidate a statute, the former is to be preferred.
It has already been ruled that the statute does not suffer from any constitutional infirmity because the abolition of certain judici al
offices was done in good faith. This being the case, I believe that the Executive is entitled to exercise its constitutional power to fill the
newly created judicial positions without any obligation to consult with this Court and to accord its views the fullest consideration. To
require consultation will constitute an invasion of executive territory which can be resented and even repelled. The implicit suggestion
that there could be an unconstitutional implementation of the questioned legislation is not congruent with the basic conclusi on that it
is not unconstitutional.

DE CASTRO, J., concurring:
I concur in the declaration that the law is not unconstitutional.
May I, however, submit this separate opinion more to avoid being misunderstood by my brethren in the judiciary as not feeling for them
as much concern as I should for their security of tenure which is raised as the main argument against the constitutionality of the law,
than by way of giving added force or support to the main opinion so well-written by Our learned Chief Justice in his usual scholarly
fashion. I, therefore, limit myself to a discussion that the assailed statue is not unconstitutional without having to suggest how it may be
implemented in order that it could stand the most rigid test of constitutionality, for in that area, what is involved is purely an executive
act of the President in whose wisdom, patriotism and sense of justice We should trust in how he would fulfill his sworn duties to see that
the laws are faithfully executed and to do justice to every man.
Moreover, while I also concur in the dismissal of the petition, I do so on the additional ground that petitioners have not fulfilled all the
requisites for the exercise by this Court of its power of judicial inquiry the power to declare a law unconstitutional.
I
The creation and organization of courts inferior to the Supreme Court is a constitutional prerogative of the legislature. This prerogative is
plenary and necessarily implies the power to reorganize said courts, and in the process, abolish them to give way to new or
substantially different ones. To contend otherwise would be to forget a basic doctrine of constitutional law that no irrepealable laws
shall be passed.
1

The power to create courts and organize them is necessarily the primary authority from which would thereafter arise the security of
tenure of those appointed to perform the functions of said courts. in the natural order of things, therefore, since the occasion to speak
of security of tenure of judges arises only after the courts have first been brought into being, the right to security of tenure takes a
secondary position to the basic and primary power of creating the courts to provide for a fair and strong judicial system. If the
legislature, in the exercise of its authority, deems it wise and urgent to provide for a new set of courts, and in doing so, it feels the
abolition of the old courts would conduce more to its objective of improving the judiciary and raising its standard, the matter involved
is one of policy and wisdom into which the courts, not even the Supreme Court, cannot inquire, much less interfere with. By this
secondary position it has to the primary power of the legislature to create courts, the security of tenure given to the incumbents should
not be a legal impediment to the exercise of that basic power of creating the statutory courts which, by necessary implication,
includes the power to abolish them in order to create new ones. This primary legislative power is a continuing one, and the resultant
right of security of tenure of those appointed to said courts could not bring about the exhaustion of that power. Unquesti onably, the
legislature can repeal its own laws, and that power can never be exhausted without, as a consequence, violating a fundamental
precept of constitutional and representative government that no irrepealable laws shall be passed.
If the creation of courts is a legislative prerogative their abolition is, therefore, a matter of legislative intent. it involves the exercise of
legislative power, an act of legislation which generally concerns policy in the formation of which the courts have no say Ini tially, when
the legislature creates the courts, it suffers from no limitation arising from the necessity or respecting the security of tenure of judges who
are not yea there. This inherent character of fullness and plenitude of the power to create and abolish courts does not change when
that same power is once more exercised thereafter, as the need therefor is felt. Which only goes to show that when done in good faith
and motivated solely by the good and the well-being of the people, the exercise of the power is not meant to be restricted, curtailed,
much less exhausted by the so-called judicial security of tenure.
The passage of the Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980 is no more than the exercise of the power vested by the Constitution on the
legislative body of the Republic as described above. That power carries with it the duty and responsibility of providing the people with
the most effective and efficient system of administration of justice. This is by far of more imperative and transcedental importance than
the security of tenure of judges which, admittedly, is one of the factors that would conduce to independence of the judiciary but
first of all, a good, efficient and effective judiciary. A judiciary wanting in these basic qualities does not deserve the independence that
is meant only for a judiciary that can serve best the interest and welfare of the people which is the most primordial and paramount
consideration, not a judiciary in which the people's faith has been eroded, a condition which the securi ty of tenure, in some instances,
may even be contributory.
In enacting the Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980, the legislature is presumed to have been motivated by no other objective than
to provide the people the kind of judicial machinery that would best serve their interest and welfare, in its belief that the present
machinery is falling short of that measure of public service. It should, likewise, be presumed that it has been led to this l ow estimate of
the utility and effectiveness of the present set-up of the judiciary after informing itself, with the facilities at its command, such as the
power of legislative investigation, of the actual condition of the courts, particularly as to whether they continue to enjoy the trust, faith
and confidence of the public, and what the cause or causes are of their erosion, if not loss, as is the keenly perceptible feeling of the
people in general. Responsibility for this more or less extensive slowdown of the delivery of judicial service can be laid on no other than
either of the two components of a court the procedural laws or rules that govern the workings of the courts, or the persons executing
or applying them or both.
When two interests conflict as what had given rise to the present controversy the duty of the legislature to provide society with a fair,
efficient and effective judicial system, on one hand, and the right of judges to security of tenure, on the other, the latter must of
necessity yield to the former. One involves public welfare and interest more directly and on a greater magnitude than the right of
security of tenure of the judges which is, as is easily discernible, more of a personal benefit to just a few, as indeed only the judge
affected could seek judicial redress of what he conceives to be its violation.
Herein lies the propriety of the exercise of "police power" of the State, if this concept which underlies even the Constituti on, has to be
invoked as a constitutional justification of the passage of the Act in question. That is, if a confli ct between the primary power of the
legislature to create courts, and mere consequential benefit accorded to judges and justices after the creation of the courts is indeed
perceivable, which the writer fails to see, or, at least, would disappear upon a reconciliation of the two apparently conflicting interests
which, from the above disquisition is not hard to find. It is, without doubt, in the essence of the exercise of police power that a right
assertable by individuals may be infringed in the greater interest of the public good and general welfare. This is demonstrated in how
the rights and freedoms enumerated in the Bill of Rights enjoyable by The entire people, not just by a handful in comparison, are made
subject to the lawful exercise of the police power of the State.
Viewed, therefore, from the above-mentioned perspective, the general revamp of the judiciary involving both its components the
court as an office or institution, and the judges and justices that man them should not find any legal obstacle in the security of
tenure of judges. This security, after all, is no more than as provided for all other officials and employees in the civil service of the
government in Section 3, Article XII-B of the Constitution which provides:
No officer or employees in the civil service shall be suspended or dismissed except for cause as provided by law.
The provision of Article XVII, Section 10 of the Constitution gives to judicial officials no more than a guarantee that their retirement age
as fixed in the Constitution shall not be alterable at mere legislative pleasure. The equivalent provision in the 1935 Constitution was
inserted for the first time because the retirement age before then was provided merely by statute not by the Constitution. If it comes to
their removal or suspension, what gives them constitutional protection is the aforequoted provision which does not contemplate
abolition of office when done in good faith, for removal implies the existence of the office, not when it is abolished. Admittedly, as has
been held, abolition of office for no reason related to public welfare or for the good of the service, let alone when done in bad faith,
amounts to an unlawful removal.
2
The abolition of the courts as declared in the Act as a result of a reorganization of the judiciary, as
the Title of the law curtly but announces, can by no means, from any viewpoint, be so branded. And whether by said reorganization,
the present would be deemed abolished, as the law expresses such an unmistakable intent, the matter is one for the sole and exclusive
determination of the legislature. It rests entirely on its discretion whether by the nature and extent of the changes it has introduced, it
has done enough to consider them abolished. To give the Supreme Court the power to determine the extent or nature of the changes
as to their structure, distribution and jurisdiction, before the clear intent to abolish them, or to declare them so abolished, is given effect,
would be to allow undue interference in the function of legislation. This would be contrary to the primary duty of courts precisely to give
effect to the legislative intent as expressed in the law or as my be discovered therefrom.
From the above observation, it would be futile to insist that the present courts would not effectively be abolished by the Act in
question. it might be to arrogate power for Us to say that the changes the law brings to the present judicial system, do not suffice for
this Court to give effect to the clear intent of the legislative body. Where would the agrarian courts, the circuit criminal courts, the
JDRC's be in the judicial structure as envisioned by the law? Are they not abolished by merger with the regional trial courts, which by
such merger, and by the other changes introduced by the law, would make said courts different from the present Courts of First
Instance which, as a consequence, may then be considered abolished Integrated as the present courts are supposed to be, changes
somewhere in the judicial machinery would necessarily affect the entire system.
The fact that the Supreme Court may specially assign courts to function as the special courts just mentioned, does not mean that the
changes wrought are only superficial or "cosmetic" as this term has been used so often in the oral argument. Without the new law,
these courts will remain fixed and permanent where they are at present. Yet in the course of time, the need for their independent
existence may disappear, or that by changed conditions, where they are needed at present at a certain place, the need for them
may be somewhere else in later years, if maximum benefit at the least expense is to be achieved, as always should be a most desirable
goal and objective of government.
Demonstrably then, the abolition of the courts is a matter of legislative intent into which no judicial inquiry is proper, except perhaps if
they intent is so palpably tainted with constitutional repugnancy, which is not so in the instant case. We have, therefore, no occasion,
as earlier intimated, to speak of removal of judges when the reorganization of the judiciary would result in the abolition of the courts
other than the Supreme Court and the Court of Tax Appeals. Hence, the provision of the Constitution giving to the Supreme Court
power to dismiss a judge by a vote of eight justices does not come into the vortex of the instant controversy. Its possible violation by the
assailed statute cannot happen, and may, therefore, not constitute an argument against the constitutionality of the law.
Former Justice Barrera, in a speech before the Philippine Bar Association,
3
impliedly indorsed the judicial revamp when he enumerated
the qualities of a good judge that the appointing power should consider in making new appointments to the judiciary upon its
reorganization pursuant to the questioned Act. The words of the eminent jurist may well reflect the favorable reaction of the public in
general to what the Act aim to achieve in the name of good and clean government. The present judicial incumbents, who have not in
any way, by their acts and behavior while in office, tarnished the good image that the judiciary should have, therefore, have no cause
for apprehension that what they are entitled to under the Constitution by way of security of tenure wig be denied them, considering
the publicly known aim and purpose of the massive judicial revamp, specially as cherished with deep concern by the President who
initiated the move when he created the Judiciary Reorganization Committee to recommend needed and appropriate judici al
reforms.
If the only obstacle to a verdict in favor of constitutionality of the law is its possible effect of impairing the security of tenure of the
incumbents, We may have the following facts to consider:
1. Under the 1973 Constitution all incumbent judges and justices may continue in office until replaced or reappointed by the President.
As to those judicial officials, no security of tenure, in the traditional concept, attaches to their incumbency which is, in a real sense, only
a holdover tenure. How the President has exercised this immense power with admirable restraint should serve as the strongest
guarantee of how justice and fairness will be his sole guide in implementing the law.
2. As to the rest of the incumbents, they are all appointees of Our present President, and he should feel concerned more than anyone
else to protect whatever rights they may rightfully claim to maintain their official standing and integrity. They need have no fear of
being ignored for no reason at all, much less for mere spirit of vindictiveness or lack of nobility of heart.
From the foregoing, it would become apparent that only in the implementation of the law may there possibly be a taint of
constitutional repugnancy as when a judge of acknowledged honesty, industry and competence is separated, because an act of
arbitrariness would thereby be committed, but the abolition of the courts as decreed by the law is not by itself or per se
unconstitutional.
Consequently, the law, the result of serious and concerned study by a highly competent committee, deserves to be given a chance to
prove its worth in the way of improving the judiciary. If in its implementation, any one, if at all, feels aggrieved, he can always seek
judicial redress, if he can make out a case of violation of his right of security of tenure with uncontrovertible clarity, as when the
separation is very arbitrary in the peculiar circumstances of his case, for an act of arbitrariness, under any constitution, is unpardonable.
This petition should also be dismissed for being premature, as is the stand of Justice Aquino. The petition asks this Court to exercise its
power of judicial inquiry, the power to declare a law unconstitutional when it conflicts with the fundamental law (People vs. Vera, 65
Phil. 56). This power has well-defined limits, for it can be exercised only when the following requisites are present, to wit: (1) There must
be an actual case or controversy; (2) The question of constitutionality must be raised by the proper party; (3) He should do so at the
earliest opportunity, and (4) The determination of the constitutionality of the statute must be necessary to a final determination of the
case.
I am of the opinion that the petition does not present an actual controversy nor was it filed by the proper parties.
The main ground for which the constitutionality of the Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980 is assailed is that it is violati ve of the security
of tenure of justices and judges. The only persons who could raise the question of constitutionality of the law are, therefore, the actual
incumbents of the courts who would be separated from the service upon the abolition of the courts affected by the law, on the theory
as advanced by petitioners that their judicial security of tenure would be violated. Olongapo City Judge de la Llana, the only judge
among the petitioners, has not been separated from the service. Nor is his separation already a certainty, for he may be appointed to
the court equivalent to his present court, or even promoted to a higher court. Only when it has become certain that his tenure has
been terminated will an actual controversy arise on his allegation of a fact that has become actual, not merely probable or
hypothetical.
The present petition may neither be allowed as a taxpayer suit. A taxpayer may bring an action to raise the question of constitutionality
of a statute only when no one else can more appropriately bring the suit to defend a right exclusively belonging to him, and. therefore,
would localize the actual injury to his person, and to no other. For a "proper party" to invoke the power of judicial inquiry, as one of the
requisites in the exercise of such power, does not mean one having no better right, one more personalized, than what he has as a
member of the public in general. With the incumbent judges undoubtedly being the ones under petitioners' theory, who would suffer
direct and actual injury, they should exclude mere taxpayers who cannot be said to suffer as "direct" and "actual" an injury as the
judges and justices by the enforcement of the assailed statute, from the right to bring the suit.
The validity of the foregoing observation becomes more evident when We consider that only after the fate of the present incumbents
is known, whether they have been actually separated or not, would the present courts be declared abolished. For the law clearly
continues their existence until all the new courts have been filled up with new appointments, or at least such number as woul d be
equal to the number of actual incumbents, and they are the very courts to which they may lay claim to the right to continue therein,
so that the status of each and everyone of them has thereby been made certain. Only then, upon the actual abolition of the courts,
may there possibly be a violation of the security of tenure, as contented, that would give rise to an "actual controversy" in which the 6
improper party" can be no other than the judges who feel aggrieved by their non- appointment to the new courts.
It would, therefore, not be proper to declare the law void at this stage, before it has even been given a chance to prove its worth, as
the legislature itself and an those who helped by their exhaustive and scholarly study, felt it to be an urgent necessity, and before any
of the proper parties who could assail its constitutionality would know for a fact, certain and actual, not merely probable or
hypothetical, that they have a right violated by what they could possibly contend to be an unconstitutional enforcement of the law,
not by a law that is unconstitutional unto itself.
I am, therefore, for giving the law a chance to be put into application so as not to douse great popular expectations for the courts to
regain their highest level of efficiency had reputation for probity. Inevitably, this is to be so since only when the law is fully implemented
will all the courts affected be declared abolished, undoubtedly to avoid an interregnum when the country is without any court, except
the Supreme Court, the Court of Tax Appeals and the Sandigan. Only then will it be known whether an actual controversy would arise
because any of the incumbents have been left out in the restructured judiciary.
There would then be also a proper party to assail the constitutionality of the law, conformably to the conditions requisite for the
exercise of the power of judicial inquiry which by their stringent character, together with the constitutional prescription of a
comparatively higher vote to declare a law unconstitutional, reveal a salutary principle of government that a law should, by all
reasonable intendment and feasible means, be saved from the doom of unconstitutionality, the rule corollary thereto being that if a
law is susceptible to two interpretations, one of which would make it constitutional, that interpretation should be adopted that will not
kill the law.
It is to adhere to the above principles that the submission is made herein, that while in the implementation of the law, constitutional
repugnancy may not entirely be ruled out, a categorical ruling hereon not being necessary or desirable at the moment, the law itself is
definitely not unconstitutional.
4
Any of the incumbent judges who feel injured after the law shall have been implemented has
adequate remedy in law, with full relief as would be proper. But surely, the benefits envisioned by the law in the discharge of one of the
basic duties of government to the people the administration of justice should not be sacrificed, as it would be, if the law is, as
sought in the present petition, declared void right now, on the claim of a few of being allegedly denied a right, at best of doubtful
character, for the claim would seem to rest on an unsupportable theory that they have a vested right to a public office.
Just one more point. The law in question is not self-executing in the sense that upon its effectivity, certain judges and justices cease to
be so by direct action of the law. This is what distinguishes the Act in question from R.A. No. 1186 involved in the Ocampo case,
5
which
by its direct action, no act of implementation being necessary, all the judges whose positions were abolished, automatically ceased as
such. The Act in question, therefore, is not as exposed to the same vulnerability to constitutional attack as R.A. No. 1186 was. Yet by the
operation of the Constitution with its wise provision on how a law may be declared unconstitutional, R.A. No. 1186 stood the test for it to
be enforced to the fullness of its intent, which was, as in the law under consideration, Identified with public interest and general
welfare, through a more efficient and effective judicial system as the Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980 seeks to establish.
Hence, the constitutionality of the law should not be assailed, and the law itself, striken down, on the ground that some judges or
justices may be removed or separated in violation of their security of tenure. The law does not directly operate with Chat effect. It is in
how the law would be implemented that this feared eventuality may or may not occur. We would then be killing the law on a mere
speculation if We do so at this stage. This would be an injudicious act done in reckless disregard of the safeguards built around a law to
defend it when its constitutionality is attacked; first the presumption that a law is constitutional; second when a law is susceptible to two
interpretations one that would make it constitutional, the other, unconstitutional, the former should be adopted; and third, the
Constitution itself which ordains that a law may not be declared unconstitutional except on the vote of at least ten (10) members of
the Supreme Court, more than what is required for an ordinary decision of the Court en banc. This is not to mention the stringent
requisites for the exercise of the power of judicial inquiry as already adverted to, all designed to save the law from the dire fate of
unconstitutionality.
To the writer, the question before this Court is a simple matter of choosing between protecting some judges from possible separation,
as the implementation of the law to achieve its primary purpose of improving the judiciary may have to result in, or serving the interest
of the entire society through an honest, efficient and effective judiciary. For, it is unthinkable that what is for the good of the people as
a whole could have been meant by the Constitution to be sacrificed for the sake of only the few. The greatest good for the greatest
number is an unwritten rule, more firm and enduring than any of the postulates spread in our written Constitution. This, I mi ght say, is the
main theme of this separate opinion, otherwise expressed in the well-known and time-honored maxim "Saluspopuli establish
supremalex."

MELENCIO-HERRERA, J., concurring:
There is unqualified adherence on my part to the dismissal of the Petition filed in this case. If I am writing this separate concurrence, it is
merely to state certain views I entertain in regards to the constitutionality of Batas PambansaBlg. 129.
The controversy in this case involves two constitutional provisions. Article X, Section 1, of the Organic law provides that the legislative
has the power to establish inferior Courts by law. Section 7 of the same Article reads:
SEC, 7. The Members of the Supreme Court and judges of inferior courts shall hold office during good behavior until
they reach the age of seventy years or become incapacitated to discharge the duties of their office. The Supreme
Court shall have the power to discipline judges of inferior courts and, by a vote of at least eight Members order their
dismissal.
There should be no conflict Between the two provisions. Both should be harmonized.
1. a) It is a fundamental proposition that the legislative power to create Courts ordinarily includes the power to organize and to
reorganize them, and that the power to abolish Courts is generally coextensive with the power to create them. The power to abolish
was not intended to be qualified by the permanence of tenure (Opinion of Chief Justice Ricardo Paras in Ocampo vs. Secretary of
Justice, 51 O.G. 147 [1955], citing McCulley vs. State, 53 SW 134; Halsey vs. Gaines 2 Lea 316). The right of Judges to hold office during
good behavior until they reach the age of 70 years, or become incapacitated to discharge the duties of their office, does not deprive
Congress of its power to abolish, organize or reorganize inferior Courts (Brillo vs. Enage, 94 Phil. 732, 735, citing Zandueta vs. de la Costa,
66 Phil. 615; 42 Am. Jur., Pub. Officer, 904-5). Judges of those Courts take office with that encumbrance and knowledge.
The legislative power to create a court carries with it the power to abolish it. When the court is abolished any
unexpired term is abolished also. The judge of such court takes office with that encumbrance and
knowledge. Perkins v. Corbin, 45 Ala 103, 6 Am. Rep. 698; State, ex rel. Thomas v. Gunter, 170 Ala. 165, 54 So 283, et
al."
The importance and the imperative of maintaining the independence of the Judiciary is undisputed. At the same time, the power of
Congress under the Constitution cannot be abridged. For, in the last analysis, it is not the security of tenure per se that is the only
safeguard to the independence of the Judiciary. It is the character and the mettle of the Judges who sit on the Bench. Has not the
impression been created in the public and that there are those who have abused the prerogatives of their judicial position knowing
that they are untouchables by virtue of the permanence of their tenure
b) A distinction should be made between tenure of Judges and tenure of Courts. Section 1 heretofore mentioned refers to the
"Judiciary" as a fundamental department of Government. Section 7 quoted above refers to the tenure of office of "individual" Judges
(inclusive of Justices of inferior Courts that is to say, tenure of office is a matter concerning the individual Judge. This "individuality"
character of Section 7 is supported by the clause that the Supreme Court has the power to discipline individual judges of inferior
Courts.
A legislature is not bound to give security of tenure to Courts. Courts can be abolished. In fact, the entire judicial system can be
changed. If that system can no longer admit of change, woe to the wheels of progress and the imperatives of growth in the
development of the Judiciary. To hold that tenure of Judges is superior to the legislative power to reorganize is to render impotent the
exercise of that power.
It may even be stated that, under Section 7, supra, Judges are entailed to their Courts, from which they cannot be separated before
retirement age except as a disciplinary action for bad behavior. Under Section 1, Courts are not entailed to their Judges, because the
power of the legislative to establish inferior Courts presupposes the power to abolish those Courts. If an inferior Court is abolished, the
Judge presiding that Court will necessarily have to lose his position because the abolished Court is not entailed to him.
c) The constitutional guarantee of tenure of Judges applies only as their Courts exist. As long as those Courts exist, the Judges cannot
be ousted without just cause; that is the extent of the constitutional provision relative to security of tenure of Judges. Upon declaration
of the completion of the reorganization as provided for in the Reorganization Act, the affected Courts "shall be deemed automatically
abolished There being no Courts, there are no offices for which tenure of Judges may be claimed. By the abolition of those offices, the
rights to them are necessarily extinguished (Manalang vs. Quitoriano, 94 Phil. 903 [1954]).
2. I am satisfied that the challenged law was enacted by the BatasangPambansa in response to an urgent and pressing public need
and not for the purpose of affecting adversely the security of tenure of all Judges or legislating them out to the detriment of judicial
independence. It should riot be said of the BatasangPambansa that its power of abolition of Courts has been used to disguise an
unconstitutional and evil purpose to defeat the security of tenure of Judges. The Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1981 sufficiently
complies with the bona fide rule in the abolition of public office, as clearly explained in the main opinion. Besides, every presumption of
good faith in its actuations must be accorded a coordinate and coequal branch of government, supreme within the limits of its own
sphere, until that presumption is clearly overcome. There is no showing that the Reorganization Act was motivated for personal or
political reasons as to justify the interference by the Court (Garvey vs. Lowell, 199 Mass, 47, 85 N.E. 182, 127 A.S.R. 468; State vs. Eduards,
40 Mont. 287; 106 Pac. 695, 19 R.C.L. 236; Llanto vs. Dimaporo, 16 SCRA 599 [1966]). Public interest and public good, as the legislative
body views it, must be balanced with tenure of Judges, which is an individual right. Reverting to Section 1 and Section 7, supra, the
former is the weightier, because the "Judiciary" is of more importance to the welfare of the country than the tenure of office of an
individual Judge. If a Judge is removed without cause there can be damage to the public welfare to some extent, but maintenance
of a Court that does not meet the requirements of progressive Government, can cause incalculable prejudice to the people.
3. Nor does a conflict exist with the power of discipline vested in the Supreme Court by the present Constitution reading: the Supreme
Court shall have the power "to discipline Judges of inferior Courts, and, by a vote of at least 8 members, order their dismissal Absent the
Court, it would be futile to speak of the Supreme Court's power to discipline. Thus, where the legislature has willed that the Courts be
abolished, the power to discipline cannot pose an obstacle to the abolition. The power to discipline can come into play only when
there is removal from an existing judicial office but not when that it office is abolished. The reorganization of the judicial system with the
abolition of certain Courts is not an exercise of the power to discipline the Judges of the abolished Courts.
It is of significance to note that the power to dismissal vested in the Supreme Court by the 1973 Constitution is delimited by its power to
discipline. Absent any need for discipline and the power to dismiss does not exist. Being circumscribed in scope, it may well be asked:
does the grant of the power of discipline and dismissal in the Supreme Court deprive the executive of the power of removal? Is it not
more in keeping with the allocation of powers in our government to state that the Supreme Court shares its power to dismiss with the
executive power of removal? For is not the power of removal basically executive in nature, as an incident to the power of
appointment, which is the prerogative of the Chief Executive alone As in the case of appointments, Section 5 (6), Article X of the
Constitution provides that the Supreme Court shall appoint its officials and employees. However, is not this power shared with the
power of appointment of the executive who appoints some of the Court officials These questions could lend themselves to an in-depth
study in the proper case.
4. The abolition would be no deprivation either of due process of law. A public office cannot be regarded as the "property " of the
incumbent. A public office is not a contract (Segovia vs. Noel, 47 Phil. 543 [1925]). A public office is a public trust (Section 1, Article XIII.
1973 Constitution). It is a privilege in the gift of the State (Brown vs. Russell, 166 Mass. 14, 43 NE 1005, 32 LRA, 253 cited also in
Taada&Carreon, Political Law of the Philippines, Vol. 2, p. 537). The officers are the servants of the people and not their rulers (22 R.C.L.
378-379, cited in Martin, Administrative Law, Law on Public Officers and Election Law, p. 112, 1970 ed.). Besides, it bears stressing that
there is no removal from office but abolition of the office itself.
5. The questioned statute is in keeping with major reforms in other departments of government. "The thrust is on development." It is "the
first major reorganization after four generations." It does not provide for a piecemeal change, which could be ineffective. It goes to the
roots and does not just scratch the surface of our judicial system. Its main objectives are an improved administration of justice, the
"attainment of more efficiency in the disposal of cases, a reallocation of jurisdiction, and a revision of procedures which do not tend to
the proper meting out of justice." These aims are policy matters of necessity in the pursuit of developmental goals within the Judiciary.
6. The Reorganization Act reorganizing the entire judicial system excluding the Supreme Court, whi ch is the only constitutional Court,
and the Sandiganbayan. It envisages institutional reforms in the Philippine judiciary. It does not simply change the names of the Courts.
The facts herein are dissimilar from those in Brillo vs. Enage (94 Phil. 732 [1954]) where the position of Justice of the Peace, although
ostensibly abolished, was merely changed to Municipal Judge after the municipality of Tacloban was converted into a city with its own
charter.
Significant among the institutional changes and procedural reforms are:
The Intermediate Appellate Court
This Court is now constituted into ten (10) divisions instead of fifteen (15), five members composing each division, and a majority vote of
three members being needed for a decision. This obviates the cumbersome procedure, in case of dissent, of assigning two other
members to compose a "division of five". It also allows flexibility in that any three members of a division, arriving at unanimity, can
promulgate a decision. Now provided for is specialization into four (4) Civil Cases Divisions, two (2) Criminal Cases Divisions and four (4)
Special Cases Divisions. The specialization is expected to contribute to the expeditious disposal of cases. The Court has been given
original jurisdiction to issue Writs of mandamus, prohibition, certiorari, habeas corpus, quo warranto and auxiliary writs or processes
whether or not in aid of its appellate jurisdiction. This would undoubtedly ease the burden of the Supreme Court where numerous such
cases are filed daily.
It has exclusive appellate jurisdiction over all final judgments, decisions, resolutions, orders or awards of quasi -judicial agencies,
instrumentalities, boards or commissions, except those falling within the exclusive appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court in
accordance with the Constitution.
The Intermediate Appellate Court would now have the power to try cases and conduct hearings, receive evidence and perform any
and all acts necessary to resolve factual issues raised in cases falling within its original and appellate jurisdiction, including the power to
grant and conduct new trials or further proceedings (Sec. 9). This does away with the delays attendant to the remand of cases to the
lower trial Courts.
Regional Trial Courts
There are now thirteen (13) Judicial Regions, the same as the present administrative and BatasangPambansa Regions, instead of
sixteen (16) Judicial Districts.
A Judge is appointed to a region, which is his official station. This ensures mobility since a Judge may be assigned anywhere within the
Region without applying the constitutional limitation of six months. Additionally, -it can remedy temporary inequalities of caseloads in
trial Courts.
Specialized Courts are integrated into the Regional Trial Courts. Thus, Regional Trial Courts would try all cases within its jurisdiction unless
special cases are assigned to them, in which case, they remain as Branches of Regional Trial Courts. Special procedures and technical
rules governing special Courts will continue to remain applicable in Branches assigned those special cases.
Metropolitan Trial Courts
There is one Metropolitan Trial Court with several Branches for large urban areas. The appointment of Judges would be to a
Metropolitan Trial Court although a Judge may be assigned by the Supreme Court to any Branch of the Metropolitan Trial Court as
demanded by the exigencies of the service.
The Supreme Court may designate certain Branches of said Courts to exercise special jurisdiction over certain cases, unlike the present
set-up where special jurisdiction applies only to cases of traffic violations.
Municipal Trial Courts/Municipal Circuit Trial Courts
Municipal Trial Courts may now be designated by the Supreme Court to exercise special jurisdiction over certain cases, thereby
resulting in overall flexibility. They can also be circuitized with those in cities not forming part of metropolitan areas.
One notable change between the old and the new set up is that Judges of these Courts will now be Presidential appointees unli ke
presently where the incumbent Judges are merely designated by the Supreme Court in an Administrative Order to sit in existing
Municipal Courts and Municipal Circuit Courts.
7. There are innovative features in the Act that commend themselves:
a) The confusing and illogical areas of concurrent jurisdiction between trial Courts have been entirely eliminated.
b) Under Section 39, there is a uniform period for appeal of fifteen (15) days counted from the notice of the final order, resolution,
award, judgment, or decision appealed from.
A record on appeal is no longer required to take an appeal. The entire original record is now to be transmitted.
c) Under Section 40, in deciding appealed cases, adoption by reference of findings of fact and conclusions of law as set forth in the
decision, order, or resolution appealed from, is also provided for. This will expedite the rendition of decisions in appealed cases.
d) Section 42 provides for "a monthly longevity pay equivalent to 5% of the monthly basic pay for Justices and
Judges of the courts herein created for each five years of continuous, efficient, and meritorious service rendered in the Judiciary,
Provided that, in no case shall the total salary of each Justice or Judge concerned, after this longevity pay is added, exceed the salary
of the Justice or Judge next in rank." Thus, Justices and Judges who may not reach the top, where unfortunately there is not enough
room for all, may have the satisfaction of at least approximating the salary scale of those above him depending on his length of
service,
8. But while the law itself as written is constitutional, the manner in which it will be administered should not be tainted with
unconstitutionality (Myles Salt Co. vs. Board of Commrs., 239 US 478, 60 L. Ed. 392, 36 Sct 204). To obviate the possibility of an
unconstitutional exercise of power the following safeguards are recommended and/or expected to be undertaken:
a) The President can be expected to indicate a reasonable time frame for the completion of the reorganization provided for in the Act
and the issuance of the corresponding implementing Order.
b) Appointments and their effectivity should be simultaneous with, or as close as possible, to the declaration by the President of the
completion of the reorganization under Section 44 to avoid any detriment to the smooth and continuous functioning of the judicial
machinery.
c) The services of those not separated should be deemed uninterrupted, as recommended by the Committee on Judicial
Reorganization (Article XI of its Report).
9. For the speedy implementation of the law, the Supreme Court can be expected to submit to the President within thirty (30) days from
the date of finality of its Decision the staffing pattern for all Courts required by Section 43.
I am constrained to disagree with the suggestion of one of the amici curiae that the staffing pattern be made to include the names of
Judges. The staffing pattern for Judges is already clearly and explicitly provided in the law itself which enumerates the various Judges
and Justices in their hierarchical order. Furthermore, to include the superior positions of Judges would depart from the traditional
concept of a staffing pattern, which refers more to personnel organization and corresponding salaries of inferior employees. It is also
constitutionally objectionable in that it would interfere with the prerogative of appointment intrinsically executive in nature (Guevara
vs. Inocentes, 16 SCRA 379 [1966]; Government of the Philippines vs. Springer, 50 Phil. 259 [1927]). The President may not be deprived of,
nor be limited in, the full use of his discretion in the appointment of persons to any public office. Nothing should so trench upon
executive choice as to be, in effect, judicial designation.
10. A word of explanation. If I had resolved not to inhibit myself in this case upon motion filed by petitioners, it was because the
Committee on Judicial Reorganization, of which I was privileged to be a member, confined its work to the recommendation of options
and guidelines in the task of reorganization. The Committee had no part whatsoever in the drafting of the bill nor in the public hearings
conducted. In fact, some of its recommendations like the circuitization or regionalization of the Intermediate Appellate Court, the
appellation of members of the Judiciary, the confinement of the jurisdiction of the Intermediate Appellate Court merely to appellate
jurisdiction, the adoption of the system found in the United Kingdom and in Commonwealth countries of having a Court of general
jurisdiction with trial and appellate divisions, were not availed of in the final Act.
11. Lastly, but by no means the least, I entertain no doubt that reliance can be placed on the good faith of the President that all the
deserving, upon considerations of "efficiency, integrity, length of service and other relevant factors shall be appointed to a
strengthened and revitalized judicial system in the interest of public service; that appointments will not be unduly delayed; and that
appointees will be evaluated thoroughly to ensure quality and impartiality in the men and women who will keep vigil over our judicial
ramparts.

ERICTA, J., concurring:
I concur in the view that the Judiciary reorganization law is not unconstitutional. It does not violate the principle of security of tenure of
judges.
The Constitution grants to the BatasangPambansa the power to create courts inferior to the Supreme Court (Article X, Section 1). All
existing inferior courts were created by law. No law is irrepealable. The power to create an office includes the power to abolish the
same. (Urgelio vs. Osmea 9 SCRA 317; Maza vs. Ochave, 20 SCRA 142)
Security of tenure cannot be invoked when there is no removal of a public officer or employee but an abolition of his office.
(Manalang vs. Quitoriano, 94 Phil. 903; Cruz vs. Primicias, 23 SCRA 998; Baldoz vs. Office of the President, 78 SCRA 354, 362) A distinction
should be made between removal from office and abolition of an office. Removal implies that the office subsists after ouster, while, in
abolition, the office no longer exists thereby terminating the right of the incumbent to exercise the rights and duties of the office.
(Canonigo vs. Ramiro, 31 SCRA 278)
The power of the legislative branch of the government to abolish courts inferior to the Supreme Court has long been established.
(Ocampo vs. Secretary of Justice, 51 O.G. 147). What is only needed is that the abolition passes the test of good faith. it need only be
shown that said abolition of the courts is merely incidental to a bona fide reorganization. (Urgelio vs. Osmea supra.)
It is unthinkable to impute bad faith to the Presidential Committee on Judicial Reorganization composed of four (4) distingui shed
members of the Supreme Court, the Minister of Justice and the Deputy Minister of Justice, and to the members of the
BatasangPambansa whose combined efforts after a careful study and deliberation resulted to the enactment of a bill now signed into
law as BatasangPambansaBlg. 129. In his sponsorship speech, Justice Ricardo C. Puno declared the objectives of the Judiciary
Reorganization Law to be the following: (1) the attainment of more efficiency in the disposal of cases; (2) the improvement i n the
quality of decisions by the courts that will result from the easing of court dockets; and (3) structural changes to meet the exigencies of
present day Philippine Society and of the foreseeable future.
Admittedly, in the implementation of the law, some Judges and Justices may be adversely affected. But in a conflict between public
interest and the individual interest of some Judges and Justices, the public weal must prevail. The welfare of the people is the supreme
law.
The implementation of the law will entail appointments to the new courts. The power of appointment is the exclusive prerogati ve of the
President. The implementation of the law should be left exclusively to the wisdom, patriotism and statesmanship of the President.

PLANA, J., concurring:
As the lawmaking body has the power to create inferior courts and define, prescribe and apportion their jurisdiction, so it has the
power to abolish or replace them with other courts as long as the act is done in good faith and not for the purpose of attaining an
unconstitutional end. Good faith has thus become the crucial issue in the case at bar.
Upon an examination of the legislative history of Batas Pambansa 129, as has been done in the main opinion, it is manifest that actual,
not merely presumed good faith attended its enactment. On this basis, I concur in the opinion penned by the learned Chief Justice,
qualified only by the following observations:
1. Executive consultation with the Supreme Court. I believe the President is under no obligation to consult with the Supreme Court;
and the Supreme Court as such is not called upon to give legal advice to the President. Indeed, as the Supreme Court itself has said, it
cannot give advisory opinions (Bacolod Murcia Planters' Asso., Inc. vs. Bacolod Murcia milling Co., 30 SCRA 67; NWSA vs. Court of
Industrial Relations, 90 SCRA 629) even to the President.
In the drafting of the present Constitution, there was an attempt to vest the Supreme Court with the function of giving advisory
opinions. The framers of the Constitution, however, did not see fit to adopt the proposal.
If the President should consult the Supreme Court on the implementation of Batas Pambansa 129 and the Supreme Court should give
its advice (leaving aside the question of procedure), I believe the President would be free to follow or disregard the advice; but, in
either case, there would be no guarantee that the implementing action would be upheld in one case or stricken down in the other.
2. Undue delegation of legislative powers.
The petitioners have also assailed the constitutionality of Batas Pambansa 129 on the ground that a provision thereof (regarding fixing
of compensation and allowances for members of the Judiciary) constitutes an undue delegation unto the President of legislative
power.
As pointed out in the main opinion, the legislature has provided ample standards or guidelines for the implementation of the
delegated power, which makes the delegation inoffensive. I would like to add however some observations on the doctrine of undue
delegation of legislative power.
Under the old Constitution, when the abiding rule was separation of legislative and executive powers, there was good reason to
maintain the doctrine of non-delegation of legislative power. Otherwise, the principle of separationof governmental powers could be
negated via unbridled delegation of legislative power. The 1973 Constitution has however radically changed the constitutional set-up.
There is now a commingling or fusion of executive and legislative powers in the hands of the same group of officials. Cabinet members
play a leading role in the legislative process, and members of the Batasan actively discharge executive functions. The Prime Minister
indeed must come from its ranks. Under the circumstances, there is really not much sense in rigidly upholding the principle of non-
delegation of legislative power, at least vis-a-vis the Executive Department. In a very real sense, the present Constitution has
significantly eroded the hoary doctrine of non-delegation of legislative power, although it has retained some provisions of the old
Constitution which were predicated on the principle of non-delegation, this time perhaps not so much to authorize shifting of power
and thereby correspondingly reduce the incidence of "undue" delegation of legislative power, as to avert the abdication thereof.
In times of war or other national emergency, the BatasangPambansa may by law authorize the President for a
limited period and subject to such restrictions as it may prescribe, to exercise powers necessary and proper to carry
out a declared national policy. Unless sooner withdrawn by resolution of the BatasangPambansa, such powers shall
cease upon its next adjournment. (Art. VIII, Sec. 15.)
The BatasangPambansa may by law authorize the President to fix within specified this and subject to such stations
and restrictions as it may impose, tariff rates, import and export quotas, tonnage and wharfage dues, and other
duties or imposts. [Ibid, Sec. 17(2).]

TEEHANKEE, J., dissenting:
Undoubtedly, no more crucial and transcendental issue of such magnitude has confronted the Philippine judiciary than in the present
case. The challenged Act, Batas PambansaBlg. 129 by its title would reorganize all existing courts (except the nine-member
Sandiganbayan
1
and the three- member Court of Tax Appeals) and upon declaration by the President of the completi on of the
reorganization would unprecedentedly deem all the said courts "automatically abolished en masse and "the incumbents thereof shall
cease to hold office."
2
The total abolition involves a total of 1,663 judicial positions with 1,180 incumbent judges and 483 vacancies) as
of January 26, 1982 and the Act would effect an increase of 230 judicial positions raising the total of judicial positions to be filled by
new appointments to 1,893. Notwithstanding the great deference due to enactments of the Batasan, I regretably find myself unable to
join the ranks of my esteemed colleagues in the majority who uphold the constitutionality of the Act and have voted to dismiss the
petition, for the following main considerations and reasons:
1. I go by the ruling of the numerical majority of seven Justices (namely, Pablo, Cesar Bengzon, Montemayor, Jugo, Bautista, Roberto
Concepcion and J.B.L. Reyes, JJ.) in the leading 1955 case of Ocampo
3
who fell short by one vote to reach the constitutionally
required 2/3 majority (at the time 8 out of an 11-member Supreme Court) to declare unconstitutional and invalid section 3 of Republic
Act 1186 abolishing the positions of 18 judges-at-large and 15 cadastral judges and removing or legislating out the incumbent judges
from office as against the contrary vote of a minority of 4 Justices (namely, then Chief Justice Paras and Padilla, Alex Reyes and
Labrador, JJ.) with the paradoxical situation that the last three named Justices voted for the validity of the Act as a remedial measure
that abolished said positions without permanent station which subjected them to a rigodon de jueces without the consent of the
Supreme Court, which they considered as "repulsive to an independent judiciary" and violative of an express prohibitory provi sion of
the 1935 Constitution while Justice Alex Reyes conceded that otherwise he would go with the majority that "Congress may not, as a
general rule, abolish a judicial post without allowing the incumbent to finish his term of office."
2. As then Associate, later Chief Justice Cesar Bengzon remarked in his separate opinion "(T)he [adverse] outcome of this litigation
[sanctioning the ouster from office of the ten petitioners who were presiding different Courts of First Instance, some as judges-at-large,
others as cadastral judges, upon the enactment on June 19, 1954 of R.A. 1186 abolishing the positions of judges-at large and cadastral
judges] is apt to revive the speculation whether wittingly or unwittingly the Constitution has further weakened the usually weak judicial
department because of its 'innovative' requirement of a 2/3 majority vote of the Supreme Court to declare a statute unconstitutional,
and 'never in our history has such a number of judges of first instance [totalling 33 positions] been ousted through judicial
reorganization.
His rationale that the express constitutional guaranty of security of tenure of judges "during good behavior until they reach the age of
seventy years or become incapacitated to discharge the duties of their office"
4
must prevail over the implied constitutional authority
to abolish courts and to oust the judges despite their constitutionally-secured tenure bears repeating thus:
A careful analysis will perceive that whereas petitioners invoke an express guaranty or positivedefinition of their term
of office, the respondents rely on implied authority to abolish courts and the positions of the respective judges.
Accurately stated, respondents' defense rests on a secondinference deduced from such implied power, because
they reason out thusly: Congress has express power to establish courts; therefore it has implicit power to abolish
courts and the positions of judges of such abolished courts (first inference); and therefore (second inference)
Congress likewise has power to eject the judges holding such positions.
Resulting juridical situation. The implied authority invoked by respondents collides with the expressguaranty of tenure
protecting the petitioners. Which shall prevail Obviously the express guaranty must override the implied authority.
"Implications can never be permitted to contradict the expressed intent or to defeat its purpose."
xxxxxxxxx
But the collision may he should be avoided, and both sections given validity, if one be considered a proviso or
exception to the other. In other words, under the Constitution the Congress may abolish existing courts, provided it
does not thereby remove the incumbent judges; such abolition to take effect upon termination of their incumbent
The fundamental provisions on the matter are thereby coordinated and harmonized' as Justice Laurel suggested in
his concurring opinion in Zandueta v. De la Costa. To bring about reconciliations is the great work of jurists. (Cardozo,
Paradoxes of Legal Science, p. 6)
5

3. This reasoning that the express guaranty of tenure protecting incumbent judges during good behavior unless removed from office
after hearing and due process or upon reaching the compulsory retirement age of seventy years must override the implied authority of
removing by legislation the judges has been further strengthened and placed beyond doubt by the new provisions of the 1973
Constitution that transferred the administrative supervision over all courts and their personnel from the Chief Executive through the then
Secretary of Justice to the Supreme Court
6
and vested in the Supreme Court exclusively "the power to discipline judges of inferior
courts and, by a vote of at least eight members, order their dismissal,"
7
Which power was formerly lodged by the Judiciary Act in the
Chief Executive.
As former Chief Justice Bengzon stressed in his opinion in Ocampo, the 1934 Constitutional Convention "frowned on removal of judges
of first instance through abolition of their offices or reorganization," citing Professor Jose Aruego's observation that the security of judges'
tenure provision was intended to "help secure the independence of the judiciary" in that "during good behavior, they may not be
legislated out of office by the law-making body nor removed by the Chief Executive for any reason and under the guise of any
pretense whatsoever; they may stay in office until they reach the age of seventy years, or become incapacitated to discharge the
duties of their office. (Aruego, The Framing of the Philippine Constitution, Vol. 11, pp. 718-719)" He further cited Aruego's report that a
proposed amendment to the effect that the prohibition against transfers of judges to another district without the approval of the
Supreme Court
8
"should not be applicable to a reorganization of tribunals of justice or of districts, but the amendment was defeated
easily without debate"
9
and logically concluded that "(N)ow, there . before, having vetoed the transfer of judges thru a re-
organization, the Convention evidently could not have permitted the removal of judges thru re-organization.
Now, if the framers of the 1973 Constitution wished to dispel the strong doubts, to say the least in the light of the 7 to 4 vote in
the Ocampo case against removal of incumbent judges through legislative action by abolition of their courts, then they would have so
clearly provided for such form of removal in the 1973 Constitution, but on the contrary as already stated they ruled out such removal or
ouster of judges by legislative action by vesting exclusively in the Supreme Court the power of discipline and removal of judges of all
inferior courts.
4. This being so, the fundamental point emphasized by former Chief Justice Bengzon that abolition of the 33 judicial positions in
the Ocampo case was "merely an indirect manner of removing the petitioners-judges" while the "positions [that] were eliminated . . .
were in fact substituted or replaced by other positions of judges" applies with greater force in the case at bar which involves an
unprecedented total "abolition," thus: "(C)all it reorganization, or legislation or removal or abolition, this law disregards the constitutional
assurance that these judges, once appointed, shall hold office during good behavior ... [unless incapacitated and until retirement].
The abolition of their offices was merely an indirect manner of removing these petitioners. Remember that on June 19, 1954, there were
107 judges of first instance, district judges, judges at-large and cadastral judges (Rep. Act 296). After the passage of Republic Act No.
1186 there were 114 positions of judges of first instance. There was no reduction there was increase in the number of judges, nor in
the number of courts. The positions of Judges-at-Large and Cadastral Judges were eliminated; but they were in fact substituted or
replaced by other positions of judges; or if you please, there was a mere change of designation from 'Cadastral Judge or Judge at
large to district judge Hence it should be ruled that as their positions had not been 'abolished' de facto, but actually retained with
another name, these petitioners are entitled to remain in the service. (Brillo v. Enage, G.R. No. L-7115, March 30, 1954.) For it is not
permissible to effect the removal of one judge thru the expediency of abolishing his office even as the offi ce with same power is
created with another name.(Brillo v. Enage, Malone v. Williams, 118 tenn. 391, Gibbe's Case 4 A.L.R. p. 211). In this view of the picture,
we believe, Congress could have, and should haveas suggested by Secretary Tuazon during the hearings in Congress directed in said
Republic Act No. 1186 that 'the present judges-at-large and cadastral judges shall become district judges presiding such districts as
may be fixed by the President with the consent of the Commission on Appointments or by the Secretary of Justice, as originally
proposed by Senator Laurel in connection with the same bill. Something similar was done before, and it would not be objectionable as
an encroachment on the President's prerogative of appointment, because such judges had already been appointed to the judiciary
before the passage of the act, and the provision may be construed in the light of mere change of official designation plus increase in
salary."
5. Concededly, the questioned Act effects certain changes and procedural reforms with more specific delineation of jurisdiction as
mentioned particularly in the majority opinion, but they do not change the basic structure of the existing courts. The present Municipal
Courts, Municipal Circuit Courts and City Courts are restructured and redesignated as Municipal Trial Courts and Municipal Circuit Trial
Courts and Metropolitan Trial Courts in the challenged Act. The Courts of First Instance, Circuit Criminal Courts, Juvenile & Domestic
Relations Courts and Courts of Agrarian Relations are all restructured and redesignated to be known by the common name of
Regional Trial Courts with provision for certain branches thereof "to handle exclusively criminal cases, juvenile and domesti c relations
cases, agrarian cases, urban land reform cases . . . . and/or such other special cases as the Supreme Court may determine in the
interest of a speedy and efficient administration of justice"
10
and the Court of Appeals is restructured and redesignated as the
Intermediate Appellate Court with an increase in the number of Appellate Justices from the present 45 to 50 but with a reduction of
the number of divisions from 15 (composed of 3 Justices each) to 10 (composed of 5 members each) such that it is feared that there is
created a bottleneck at the appellate level in the important task discharged by such appellate courts as reviewers of facts.
In my view, the "candid admission" by the Chief Justice in his opinion for the Court "that he entertained doubts as to whether the
intermediate court of appeals provided for is a new tribunal"
10
a is equally applicable to all the other above mentioned courts
provided for in the challenged Act as "new courts". And the best proof of this is the plain and simple transitory provision i n section 44
thereof that upon the President's declaration of completion of the reorganization (whereby the "old courts" shall "be deemed
automatically abolished and the incumbents thereof shall cease to hold office "(T)he cases pending in the old Courts shall be
transferred to the appropriate Courts constituted pursuant to this Act, together with the pertinent functions, records, equipment,
property and the necessary personnel together with the "applicable appropriations." This could not have been possible without a
specification and enumeration of what specific cases of the "old courts" would be transferred to the particular "new courts," had these
"new courts" not been manifestly and substantially the "old courts" with a change of name or as described by Justice Barredo to
have been his first view, now discarded, in his separate opinion: "just a renaming, and not a substantial and actual modification or
alteration of the present judicial structure or system" or "a rearrangement or remodeling of the old structure."
11

6. I do not subscribe to the test of good faith or bad faith in the abolition of the courts and consequent ouster of the incumbent judges
from office as expounded by the late eminent Justice Jose P. Laurel in his separate concurring opinion in the pre-war case
of Zandueta
12
wherein the Court dismissed the petition for quo warranto on the ground of petitioner Zandueta's estoppel and
abandonment of office.
13
Realistically viewed from the basis of the established legal presumptions of validity and constitutionality of
statutes (unless set aside by a 2/3 majority of 10 members of the Supreme Court) and of good faith in their enactment, one is hard put
to conjure a case where the Court could speculate on the good or bad motives behind the enactment of the Act without appearing
to be imprudent and improper and declare that "the legislative power of reorganization (is) sought to cloak an unconstitutional and
evil purpose." The good faith in the enactment of the challenged Act must needs be granted. What must be reconciled is the
legislative power to abolish courts as implied from the power to establish them with the express constitutional guaranty of tenure of the
judges which is essential for a free and independent judiciary. Adherents of the Rule of Law are agreed that indispensable for the
maintenance of the Rule of Law is a free and independent judiciary, sworn to protect and enforce. it without fear or favor "free, not
only from graft, corruption, ineptness and incompetence but even from the tentacles of interference and insiduous influence of the
political powers that be to quote again from Justice Barredo's separate concurring opinion.
14
Hence, my adherence to the 7-member
majority opinion of former Chief Justice Bengzon in the Ocampo case, supra, as restated by the Philippine Association of Law Professors
headed by former Chief Justice Roberto Concepcion that "any reorganization should at least snow the incumbents of the existing
courts to remain in office [the appropriate counterpart 'new courts'] unless they are removed for cause."
7. The "judges' broader and stronger guarantees of tenure than ordinary civil servants" as stressed by former Chief Justice Bengzon in Ms
majority opinion in Ocampo is based on the judiciary's status as a coequal and coordinate branch of government, whereas the long
line of Philippine cases upholding the legislative power to abolish offices refers to officers or employees in the executive branch of
government and "the underlying consideration must be borne in mind that Manalang [the aggrieved petitioner] belonged to the
Executive Department and because the President approved the law no question or encroachment by one branch on the other could
be apprehended or alleged.
15
This is not a matter of personal privilege for the incumbent judges but as aptly stated by former U.P. Law
Dean Irene Cortez in her memorandum as amicus curiae, "for the judiciary whose independence is not only eroded but is in grave
danger of being completely destroyed." Dean Cortez aptly stressed that "judicial independence is not a guarantee intended for the
Supreme Court alone, it extends to the entire court system and is even more vital to the courts at the lowest levels because there are
more of them and they operate closest to the people," and "(P)articularly under the present form of modified parliamentary
government with legislative and executive functions overlapping and in certain areas merging, the judiciary is left to perform the
checking function in the performance of which its independence assumes an even more vital importance. "
The extensive memoranda filed by Dean Cortez and other amici curiae such as former Senator Jose W. Diokno who strongly urges the
Court to strike down the Act "to prevent further destruction of judicial independence," former Senator Lorenzo Sumulong, president of
the Philippine Constitution Association who advocates for the Court's adoption of the B Bengzon majority opinion in the Ocampo case
so as to abide by "the elementary rule in the interpretation of constitutions that effect should be given to all parts of the Constitution"
and that the judges' security of tenure guaranty should not be rendered meaningless and inoperative" former Solicitor General Arturo
A. Alafriz, president of the Philippine Lawyers' Association who submits that the total abolition of all courts below the Supreme Court
(except the Sandiganbayan and the Court of Tax Appeals) and the removal of the incumbent Justices and Judges "violates the
independence of the judiciary, their security of tenure and right to due process guaranteed them by the Constitution" and Atty. Raul
M. Gonzales, president of the National Bar Association of the Philippines who invokes the Declaration of Delhi at the ICJ Conference in
1959, that "The principles of unremovability of the Judiciary and their Security of Tenure until death or until a retiring age fixed by statute
is reached, is an important safeguard of the Rule of Law" have greatly helped in fortifying my views.
8. I had submitted in my memo of September 4, 1980 to the Presidential Committee on Judicial Reorganization that "(W)hatever
reorganization plans the committee may recommend to meet the worldwide problem of congested court dockets, and to improve
judicial services in the public interest, it should be borne in mind that the members of the judiciary as the weakest branch of
government, yet called upon to safeguard the people's rights and protect them oppression, official and otherwise, are entitled to
security of tenure as guaranteed by the Constitution. Even though the lower courts may be reshuffled or abolished in the process, the
mandate and spirit of the Constitution guaranteeing their security of tenure and maintaining the independence of the judiciary should
be respected, and they should be retained in the new courts."
In the same vein, Dean Cortez warned of the dire consequences of giving the questioned provisions of the Act the "absolutist sense
which they appear to have at first blush" thus: "(T)o accept legislative power to abolish courts asserted under Batas PambansaBlg. 129
which sweeps through practically the entire judiciary would be to open the door to future court abolitions in the guise of
reorganization. At this stage of our political development, the process of embarking upon a modified parliamentary system may well
usher in a situation where despite guarantees of judicial tenure, each ruling party in the legislature or any alliance that can command
a majority vote may periodically undertake complete reorganization and remove judges, thus making of the judiciary a veritable straw
in the political wind and "(F)urthermore, what can result in the modified parliamentary system from the close working relationship
between executive and legislature is made manifest in Batas PambansaBlg. 129. If the sweeping revamp provided were to be carried
out the President would appoint all of the justices and judges of the courts affected and the whole membership in the judiciary from
the highest to the lowest courts would be his appointees. It is relevant to point out that it is precisely a situation like this that the
Constitution seeks to avoid when it provides staggered terms for the chairman and members of the constitutional commissions which
like the judiciary are guaranteed independence."
9. The judges' security of tenure was rendered nugatory by the Transitory Provisions of the 1973 Constitution which granted the
incumbent President the unlimited power to remove and replace all judges and officials
16
(as against the limited one-year period for
the exercise of such power granted President Quezon in the 1935 Constitution upon establishment of the Philippine Commonwealth
Upon the declaration of martial law in September, 1972, justices and judges of all courts, except the Supreme Court, had been
required to hand in their resignations. There is listed a total of 53 judges who were replaced or whose resignations were accepted by
the President during the period from September, 1972 to April, 1976. The power to replace even the judges appointed after the
effectivity on January 17, 1973 of the 1973 Constitution is yet invoked on behalf of the President in the pending case of Tapucar vs.
Famador
17
notwithstanding the generally held view that such post-1973 Constitution appointed judges are not subject to the
Replacement Clause of the cited Transitory Provision. (In this case, petitioner judge appointed on January 30, 1976 as judge of the
Court of First Instance of Agusan del Norte and Butuan City, Branch 1, invoked his constitutional security of tenure and questioned the
appointment extended on February 26, 1980 to respondent to replace him, although he had not been removed or otherwise dismissed
from his position nor had be resigned therefrom. The Court per its March 27, 1980 resolution ordered both to refrain from discharging the
functions of the questioned office And now comes this total abolition of 1,663 judicial positions (and thousands of personnel positions)
unprecedented in its sweep and scope. The urgent need is to strengthen the judiciary with the restoration of the security of tenure of
judges, which is essential for a free and independent judiciary as mandated by the Constitution, not to make more enfeebled an
already feeble judiciary, possessed neither of the power of the sword nor the purse, as decried by former Chief Justice Bengzon in
his Ocampo majority opinion:
Shall we have judges of the type of Lord Coke Or judges, who, in his place, would have answered 'I'll do what his
majesty pleases,' judges who, afraid of ouster thru a judiciary reshuffle, would rather serve the interests of the party in
power or of the political boss, than the interests of justice?
As it is, the Judicial Department is feeble enough. Shall we render it feebler with judges precariously occupying their
official seats Judges performing their duties under the sword of Damocles of future judicial reorganizations
10. The Chief Justice, in his opinion for the Court, equally stressed that "what is equally apparent is that the strongest ti es bind the
executive and legislative departments. It is likewise undeniable that the BatasangPambansa retains its full authority to enact whatever
legislation may be necessary to carry out national policy as usually formulated in a caucus of the majority party. It is understandable
then why in Fortun vs. Labang
18
it as stressed that with the provision transferring to the Supreme Court administrative supervision over
the Judiciary, there is a greater need 'to preserve unimpaired the independence of the judiciary, especially so at present, where to all
intends and purposes, there is a fusion between the executive and the legislative branches,'"
19
with the further observation that "many
are the ways by which such independence could be eroded." In the cited case of Judge Fortun (likewise penned by the Chief Justice
for the Court), the Court issued a writ of prohibition and certiorari ordering the dismissal of the criminal complaint filed with respondent
fiscal Labang by "disgruntled members of the bar with a record of losing cases" in the judge's court and imposed the penalty of
censure on each and everyone of the private respondents-lawyers for the "unseemly haste" with which they filed the criminal
complaint, abetted by "the appearance of sheer vindictiveness or oppressive exercise of state authority." The Court marked the
"violation of the cardinal principles of fairness and due process that underlie the Rule of Law. Petitioner-Judge was not heard; he was
denied the opportunity to defend himself against the accusation. There was, on the part of private respondents then, a failure to abide
by a Resolution of the Integrated Bar stressing that precisely integration could shield 'the judiciary which traditionally cannot defend
itself except within its own forum, from the assaults that politics and self-interest may level at it, and assist it to maintain its integrity,
impartiality and independence,' " and that such subjection of a judge to public "harassment and humiliation . . . can diminish public
confidence in the courts."
11. This brings us to the allegedly underlying need for B.P. Blg. 129 discussed in the course of committee hearings of Cabinet Bill No. 42
and the deliberation on second reading in the BatasangPambansa to rid the judiciary of incompetent and corrupt judges and to
restore confidence in the integrity of the courts. The purge has been the constant subject of headlines and editorials, with the Ministry
of Justice's Integrity Council reportedly screening and conducting "integrity tests as to new applicants and the incumbent judges
20
and
seeking "confidential information on corrupt and incompetent judges to help the government purge the judiciary."
21
Prime Minister
Cesar Virata was quoted as saying that "there will be a purge of the corrupt and the misfits' when the Judiciary Reorganizati on Act is
signed into law by President Marcos and implemented in coordination with the Supreme Court."
22
The public respondents' answer
sidesteps the issue of such purge contravening the rudiments of a fair hearing and due process and submits that "no term of office is
sacrosanct when demanded before the altar of the public good." The metropolitan papers reported the "anxiety gripping the judiciary
as the Ministry of Justice has reportedly been asked to collate information 'on the performance of the judges and on the qual ifications
of those slated to take over the positions of the incompetent, the inefficient or those involved in irregularities. As stated in an editorial,
'Somehow, the uncertainty that now hovers over the judiciary has unduly subjected the judges to mental torture since they do not
know when or whether the axe will fall on them. Worse, the sword of Damocles hanging over their heads could provoke them into
seeking the help of people claiming to have influence with the powers that be."
23

But Dean Cortez in her memorandum states that "However, nowhere on public record is there hard evidence on this. The only figures
given in the course of the committee hearings were to the effect that out of some 1,700 members of the judiciary, between 10 to 15
were of the undesirable category, i.e. misfit, incompetent or corrupts. (Barredo, J., before the Committee on Justice, human Rights and
Good Government, December 4, 1980)," and that "(I)f this be the case, the unprecedented, sweeping and wholesale abolition of
judicial offices becomes an arbitrary act, the effect of which is to assert the power to remove all the incumbents guilty or innocent
without due process of law." Now would it be of any avail to beg the question and assert that due process is not available in mass
abolitions of courts.
Justice Barredo, however, without citing any hard evidence, refers in his separate concurrence to twin objectives of getting rid of "
structural inadequacies of the system or of the cumbersomeness and technicality-peppered and dragging procedural rules in force
and of "a good number of those occupying positions in the judiciary (who') make a mockery of justice and take advantage of their
office for personal ends He adds that "it is my personal assessment of the present situation in our judiciary that its reorganization has to
be of necessity two-pronged, as I have just indicated, for the most Ideal judicial system with the most perfect procedural rules cannot
satisfy the people and the interests of justice unless the men who hold positions therein possess the character, competence and sense
of loyalty that can guarantee their devotion to duty and absolute impartiality, nay, impregnability to all temptations of graft and
corruption, including the usual importunings and the fearsome albeit improper pressures of the powers that be,"
24
and invokes the
adage of "grandes males, grandesremedios" to now uphold the validity of the Act.
Former Senator Diokno in his memorandum anticipates the argument that "great ills demand drastic cures" thus: "Drastic, yes but not
unfair nor unconstitutional. One does not improve courts by abolishing them, any more than a doctor cures a patient by killing him. The
ills the judiciary suffers from were caused by impairing its independence; they will not be cured by totally destroying that
independence. To adopt such a course would only breed more perversity in the administration of justice, just as the abuses of martial
rule have bred more subversion."
12. Finally, as stated by the 19-i 5 integrated Bar of the Philippines 2nd House of Delegates, "It would, indeed, be most ironical if Judges
who are called upon to give due process cannot count it on themselves. Observance of procedural due process in the separation of
misfits from (he Judiciary is the right way to attain a laudable objective. '
As stressed by the Chief Justice in the Fortun case, judges are entitled to the cardinal principles of fairness and due process and the
opportunity to be heard and defend themselves against the accusations made against their and not to be subjected to harassment
and humiliation, and the Court will repudiate the "oppressive exercise of legal authority." More so, are judges entitled to such due
process when what is at stake is their constitutionally guaranteed security of tenure and non-impairment of the independence of the
judiciary and the proper exercise of the constitutional power exclusively vested in the Supreme Court to discipline and remove judges
after fair hearing.
In sum, I see no reason to change the stand submitted by me to the Presidential Committee on Judicial Reorganization that
Judges of inferior courts should not be summarily removed and branded for life in such reorganization on the basis of confidential
adverse reports as to their performance, competence or integrity, save those who may voluntarily resign from office upon being
confronted with such reports against them. The trouble with such ex-parte reports, without due process or hearing, has been proven
from our past experience where a number of honest and competent judges were summarily removed while others who were generally
believed to be basket cases have remained in the service; and
The power of discipline and dismissal of judges of all inferior courts, from the Court of Appeals down, has been vested by the 1973
Constitution in the Supreme Court, and if the judiciary is to be strengthened, it should be left to clean its own house upon complaint
and with the cooperation of the as grieved parties and after due process and hearing.
The constitutional confrontation and conflict may wen be avoided by holding that since the changes and provisions of the challenged
Act do not substantially change the nature and functions of the "new courts" therein provided as compared to the "abolished old
courts" but provide for procedural changes, fixed delineation of jurisdiction and increases in the number of courts for a more effective
and efficient disposition of court cases, the incumbent judges guaranteed security of tenure require that they be retained in the
corresponding "new courts."
Fernandez, J., concur.
Footnotes

EN BANC
[G.R. No. 115844. August 15, 1997]
CESAR G. VIOLA, Chairman, Bgy. 167, Zone 15, District II, Manila, petitioner, vs. HON. RAFAEL M. ALUNAN III, Secretary, DILG, ALEX L.
DAVID, President/Secretary General, National Liga ng mga Barangay, LEONARDO L. ANGAT, President, City of Manila, Liga ng
mga Barangay,respondents.
D E C I S I O N
MENDOZA, J.:
This is a petition for prohibition challenging the validity of Art. III, 1-2 of the Revised Implementing Rules and Guidelines for the
General Elections of the Liga ng mga Barangay Officers so far as they provide for the election of first, second and third vice presidents
and for auditors for the National Liga ng mga Barangay and its chapters. The provisions in question read:
1. Local Liga Chapters. The Municipal, City, Metropolitan and Provincial Chapters shall directly elect the following officers and
directors to constitute their respective Board of Directors, namely:
1.1 President
1.2 Executive Vice-President
1.3 First Vice-President
1.4 Second Vice-President
1.5 Third Vice-President
1.6 Auditor
1.7 Five (5) Directors
2. National Liga. The National Liga shall directly elect the following officers and directors to constitute the National Liga Board of
Directors namely:
2.1 President
2.2 Executive Vice-President
2.3 First Vice-President
2.4 Second Vice-President
2.5 Third Vice-President
2.6 Secretary General
2.7 Auditor
2.8 Five (5) Directors
Petitioner Cesar G. Viola brought this action as barangay chairman of Bgy. 167, Zone 15, District II, Manila against then Secretary
of Interior and Local Government Rafael M. Alunan III, Alex L. David, president/secretary general of the National Liga ng mga
Barangay, and Leonardo L. Angat, president of the City of Manila Liga ng mga Barangay, to restrain them from carrying out the
elections for the questioned positions on July 3, 1994.
Petitioners contention is that the positions in question are in excess of those provided in the Local Government Code (R.A. No.
7160), 493 of which mentions as elective positions only those of president, vice president, and five members of the board of directors
in each chapter at the municipal, city, provincial, metropolitan political subdivision, and national levels. Petitioner argues that, in
providing for the positions of first, second and third vice presidents and auditor for each chapter, 1-2 of the Implementing Rules
expand the number of positions authorized in 493 of the Local Government Code in violation of the princi ple that implementing rules
and regulations cannot add or detract from the provisions of the law they are designed to implement.
Although the elections are now over, the issues raised in this case are likely to arise again in future elections of officers of the Liga
ng mga Barangay. For one thing, doubt may be cast on the validity of the acts of those elected. For another, this comes within the
rule that courts will decide a question which is otherwise moot and academic if it is capable of repetition, yet evading review.
[1]

We will therefore proceed to the merits of this case.
Petitioners contention that the additional positions in question have been created without authority of law is untenable. To
begin with, the creation of these positions was actually made in the Constitution and By-laws of the Liga ng Mga Barangay, which was
adopted by the First Barangay National Assembly on January 11, 1994. This Constitution and By-laws provide in pertinent parts:
ARTICLE VI
OFFICERS AND DIRECTORS
Section 1. Organization of Board of Directors of Local Chapters. - The chapters shall directly elect their respective officers, namely, a
president; executive vice president; first, second, and third vice presidents; auditor; and five (5) members to constitute the Board of
Directors of their respective chapter. Thereafter, the Board shall appoint a secretary, treasurer, and public relations officer from among
the five (5) members, with the rest serving as Directors of Board. The Board may create such other positions as it may deem necessary
for the management of the chapter. Pending elections of the president of the municipal, city, provincial and metropolitan chapters of
the Liga, the incumbent presidents of the ABCs of the municipality, city province and Metropolitan Manila shall continue to act as
presidents of the corresponding Liga chapters, subject to the provisions of the Local Government Code of 1991.
Section 2. Organization of Board of Directors of the National Liga. - The National Liga shall be composed of the presidents of the
provincial Liga chapters, highly urbanized and independent component city chapters, and the metropolitan chapter who shall di rectly
elect their respective officers, namely, a president, executive vice president; first, second, and third vice president, auditor, secretary
general; and five (5) members to constitute the Board of Directors of the National Liga. Thereafter, the Board shall appoint a treasurer,
secretary and public relations officers from among the five (5) members with the rest serving as directors of the Board. The Board may
create such other positions as it may deem necessary for the management of the National Liga. Pending election of Secretary-
General, the incumbent president of the Pambansang Katipunan ng mga Barangay (PKB) shall act as the Secretary-General. The
incumbent members of the Board of the PKB, headed by the Secretary-General who continue to be presidents of the respective
chapters of the Liga to which they belong, shall constitute a committee to exercise the powers and duties of the National Liga and
with the primordial responsibility of drafting a Constitution and By-Laws needed for the organization of the Liga as a whole pursuant to
the provisions of the Local Government Code of 1991.
The post of executive vice president is in reality that of the vice president in 493 of the LGC, so that the only additional positions
created for each chapter in the Constitution and By-laws are those of first, second and third vice presidents and auditor. Contrary to
petitioners contention, the creation of the additional positions is authorized by the LGC which provides as follows:
493. Organization. The liga at the municipal, city, provincial, metropolitan political subdivision, and national levels directly elect a
president, a vice-president, and five (5) members of the board of directors. The board shall appoint its secretary and treasurer
and create such other positions as it may deem necessary for the management of the chapter. A secretary-general shall be elected
from among the members of the national liga and shall be charged with the overall operation of the liga on the national level . The
board shall coordinate the activities of the chapters of the liga. (emphasis added)
This provision in fact requires and not merely authorizes the board of directors to create such other positions as it may
deem necessary for the management of the chapter and belies petitioners claim that said provision (493) limits the officers of a
chapter to the president, vice president, five members of the board of directors, secretary, and treasurer. That Congress can
delegate the power to create positions such as these has been settled by our decisions upholding the validity of reorganization
statutes authorizing the President of the Philippines to create, abolish or merge offices in the executive department.
[2]
The question is
whether, in making a delegation of this power to the board of directors of each chapter of the Liga ng Mga Barangay, Congress
provided a sufficient standard so that, in the phrase of Justice Cardozo, administrative discretion may be canalized within proper
banks that keep it from overflowing.
[3]

Statutory provisions authorizing the President of the Philippines to make reforms and changes in government owned or controlled
corporations for the purpose of promoting simplicity, economy and efficiency
[4]
in their operations and empowering the Secretary of
Education to prescribe minimum standards of adequate and efficient instruction
[5]
in private schools and colleges have been found
to be sufficient for the purpose of valid delegation. Judged by these cases, we hold that 493 of the Local Government Code, in
directing the board of directors of the liga to create such other positions as may be deemed necessary for the management of the
chapter[s], embodies a fairly intelligible standard. There is no undue delegation of power by Congress.
Justice Davide contends in dissent, however, that only the Board of Directors and not any other body is vested with the
power to create other positions as may be necessary for the management of the chapter and that, in any case, there is no showing
that the Barangay National Assembly was authorized to draft the Constitution and By-laws because he is unable to find any law
creating it. The Barangay National Assembly is actually the Pambansang Katipunan ng mga Barangay (PKB) referred to in Art.
210(f)(2)(3) of the Rules and Regulations Implementing the Local Government Code of 1991, which Justice Davides dissent cites. It will
be helpful to quote these provisions:
(2) A secretary-general shall be elected from among the members of the national liga who shall be responsible for the overall
operation of the liga. Pending election of a secretary-general under this rule, the incumbent president of the pambansang katipunan
ng mga barangay shall act as the secretary-general. The incumbent members of the board of the pambansang katipunan ng mga
barangay, headed by the secretary-general, who continue to be presidents of the respective chapters of the liga to which they
belong, shall constitute a committee to exercise the powers and duties of the national liga and draft or amend the constitution and
by-laws of the national liga to conform to the provisions of this Rule.
(3) The board of directors shall coordinate the activities of the various chapters of the liga.
(Emphasis added)
Pursuant to these provisions, pending the organization of the Liga ng mga Barangay, the board of directors of the PKB was
constituted into a committee, headed by the PKB president, who acted as secretary general, with a two-fold mandate: [1] exercise
the powers and duties of the national liga and [2] draft or amend the constitution and by-laws of the national liga to conform to the
provisions of this Rule. The board of directors of the PKB, functioning in place of the board of directors of the National Liga ng mga
Barangay, exercised one of these powers of the National Liga board, namely, to create additional positions which it deemed
necessary for the management of a chapter. There is therefore no basis for the claim that because the power to create additional
positions in the Liga or its chapters is vested only in the board of directors the exercise of this power by the Barangay National Assembly
is unauthorized and illegal and the positions created are void. The Barangay National Assembly was actually the Pambansang
Katipunan ng mga Barangay or PKB. Pending the organization of the Liga ng mga Barangay, it served as the Liga.
But it is contended in the dissent that Section 493 of the LGC . . . vests the power to create additional positions in the Board of
Directors of the chapter. The implication seems to be that the board of the directors at the national level did not have that power. It is
necessary to consider the organizational structure of the Liga ng mga Barangay as provided in the LGC, as follows:
492. Representation, Chapters, National Liga. - Every barangay shall be represented in said liga by the punong barangay, or in his
absence or incapacity, by a sanggunian member duly elected for the purpose among its members, who shall attend all meetings or
deliberations called by the different chapters of the liga.
The liga shall have chapters at the municipal, city, provincial and metropolitan political subdivision levels.
The municipal and city chapters of the liga shall be composed of the barangay representatives of municipal and city barangays,
respectively. The duly elected presidents of component municipal and city chapters shall constitute the provincial chapter or the
metropolitan political subdivision chapter. The duly elected presidents of highly-urbanized cities, provincial chapters, the Metropolitan
Manila chapter and metropolitan political subdivision chapters shall constitute the National Liga ng mga Barangay.
493. Organization. The liga at the municipal, city, provincial, metropolitan political subdivision, and national levels directly elect a
president, a vice-president, and five (5) members of the board of directors. The board shall appoint its secretary and treasurer and
create such other positions as it may deem necessary for the management of the chapter. A secretary-general shall be elected from
among the members of the national liga and shall be charged with the overall operation of the liga on the national level. The board
shall coordinate the activities of the chapters of the liga.
(Emphasis added)
While the board of directors of a local chapter can create additional positions to provide for the needs of the chapter, the board
of directors of the National Liga must be deemed to have the power to create additional positions not only for its management but
also for that of all the chapters at the municipal, city, provincial and metropolitan political subdivision levels. Otherwise the National
Liga would be no different from the local chapters. There would then be only so many local chapters without a national one, when
what is contemplated in the above-quoted provisions of the LGC is that there should be one Liga ng mga Barangay with local
chapters at all levels of local government units. The dissent, by denying to the board of directors at the National Liga the power to
create additional positions in the local chapters, would reduce such board to a board of a local chapter. The fact is that 493 grants
the power to create positions not only to the boards of the local chapters but to the board of the Liga at the national level as well.
Indeed what was done in the Constitution and By-laws of their liga was to create additional positions in each chapter, whether
national or local, without however precluding the boards of directors of the chapters as well as that of the national liga from creating
other positions for their peculiar needs. The creation by the board of the National Liga of the positions of first, second and third vice
presidents, auditors and public relations officers was intended to provide uniform officers for the various chapters in line with the
mandate in Art. 210(g)(2) of the Rules and Regulations Implementing the Local Government Code of 1991 to the Barangay National
Assembly to formulate uniform constitution and by-laws applicable to the national liga and all local chapters. The various chapters
could have different minor officers depending on their local needs, but they must have the same major elective officers, meaning to
say, the additional vice presidents and auditors.
The dissent further argues that, following the rule of ejusdem generis, what may be created as additional positions can only be
appointive ones because the positions of secretary and treasurer are appointive positions. The rule might apply if what is involved is
the appointment of other officers. But what we are dealing with in this case is the creation of additional positions. Section 493 actually
gives the board the power to [1] appoint its secretary and treasurer and [2] create such other positions as it may deem necessary for
the management of the chapter. The additional positions to be created need not therefore be appointive positions.
Nor is it correct to say that 493, in providing that additional positions to be created must be those which are deemed necessary
for the management of the chapter, contemplates only appointive positions. Management positions are not necessarily limited to
appointive positions. Elective officers, such as the president and vice president, can be expected to be involved in the general
administration or management of the chapter. Hence, the creation of other elective positions which may be deemed necessary for
the management of the chapter is within the purview of 493.
WHEREFORE, the petition for prohibition is DISMISSED for lack of merit.
SO ORDERED.
Narvasa, C.J., Padilla, Regalado, Bellosillo, Melo, Puno, Kapunan, Francisco, and Hermosisima, Jr., JJ., concur.
Davide, Jr., J., see dissenting opinion.
Romero, Vitug, and Panganiban, JJ., joins the dissent of J. Davide.
Torres, Jr., J. took no part, on leave.

EN BANC



LOUIS BAROK C.
BIRAOGO,
Petitioner,

- versus -

THE PHILIPPINE TRUTH COMMISSION OF 2010,
Respondent.
x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - x
REP. EDCEL C. LAGMAN,
REP. RODOLFO B. ALBANO, JR., REP. SIMEON A.
DATUMANONG, and REP. ORLANDO B. FUA, SR.,
Petitioners,



- versus -








EXECUTIVE SECRETARY PAQUITO N. OCHOA, JR. and
DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET AND MANAGEMENT SECRETARY
FLORENCIO B. ABAD,
Respondents.
G.R. No. 192935








G.R. No. 193036

Present:

CORONA, C.J.,
CARPIO,
CARPIO MORALES,
VELASCO, JR.,
NACHURA,
LEONARDO-DE CASTRO,
BRION,
PERALTA,
BERSAMIN,
DEL CASTILLO,
ABAD,
VILLARAMA, JR.,
PEREZ,
MENDOZA, and
SERENO, JJ.

Promulgated:

December 7, 2010

x -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- x



D E C I S I O N

MENDOZA, J.:


When the judiciary mediates to allocate constitutional boundaries, it does not assert any superiority over
the other departments; it does not in reality nullify or invalidate an act of the legislature, but only asserts the solemn
and sacred obligation assigned to it by the Constitution to determine conflicting claims of authority under the
Constitution and to establish for the parties in an actual controversy the rights which that instrument secures and
guarantees to them.

--- Justice Jose P. Laurel
[1]


The role of the Constitution cannot be overlooked. It is through the Constitution that the fundamental powers of government are
established, limited and defined, and by which these powers are distributed among the several departments.
[2]
The Constitution is the
basic and paramount law to which all other laws must conform and to which all persons, including the highest officials of the land,
must defer.
[3]
Constitutional doctrines must remain steadfast no matter what may be the tides of time. It cannot be simply made to
sway and accommodate the call of situations and much more tailor itself to the whims and caprices of government and the people
who run it.
[4]


For consideration before the Court are two consolidated cases
[5]
both of which essentially assail the validity and constitutionality
of Executive Order No. 1, dated July 30, 2010, entitled Creating the Philippine Truth Commission of 2010.


The first case is G.R. No. 192935, a special civil action for prohibition instituted by petitioner Louis Biraogo (Biraogo) in his
capacity as a citizen and taxpayer. Biraogo assails Executive Order No. 1 for being violative of the legislative power of Congress under
Section 1, Article VI of the Constitution
[6]
as it usurps the constitutional authority of the legislature to create a public office and to
appropriate funds therefor.
[7]


The second case, G.R. No. 193036, is a special civil action for certiorari and prohibition filed by petitioners Edcel C. Lagman,
Rodolfo B. Albano Jr., Simeon A. Datumanong, and Orlando B. Fua, Sr. (petitioners-legislators) as incumbent members of the House of
Representatives.

The genesis of the foregoing cases can be traced to the events prior to the historic May 2010 elections, when then Senator
Benigno Simeon Aquino III declared his staunch condemnation of graft and corruption with his slogan, Kung walang corrupt, walang
mahirap. The Filipino people, convinced of his sincerity and of his ability to carry out this noble objective, catapulted the good senator
to the presidency.

To transform his campaign slogan into reality, President Aquino found a need for a special body to investigate reported cases
of graft and corruption allegedly committed during the previous administration.

Thus, at the dawn of his administration, the President on July 30, 2010, signed Executive Order No. 1 establishing
the Philippine Truth Commission of 2010 (Truth Commission). Pertinent provisions of said executive order read:
EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 1

CREATING THE PHILIPPINE TRUTH COMMISSION OF 2010

WHEREAS, Article XI, Section 1 of the 1987 Constitution of the Philippines solemnly enshrines the principle that a
public office is a public trust and mandates that public officers and employees, who are servants of the people,
must at all times be accountable to the latter, serve them with utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty and efficiency,
act with patriotism and justice, and lead modest lives;

WHEREAS, corruption is among the most despicable acts of defiance of this principle and notorious violation
of this mandate;

WHEREAS, corruption is an evil and scourge which seriously affects the political, economic, and social life of a
nation; in a very special way it inflicts untold misfortune and misery on the poor, the marginalized and
underprivileged sector of society;

WHEREAS, corruption in the Philippines has reached very alarming levels, and undermined the peoples trust
and confidence in the Government and its institutions;

WHEREAS, there is an urgent call for the determination of the truth regarding certain reports of large scale
graft and corruption in the government and to put a closure to them by the filing of the appropriate cases against
those involved, if warranted, and to deter others from committing the evil, restore the peoples faith and confidence
in the Government and in their public servants;

WHEREAS, the Presidents battlecry during his campaign for the Presidency in the last elections kung walang
corrupt, walang mahirap expresses a solemn pledge that if elected, he would end corruption and the evil it breeds;

WHEREAS, there is a need for a separate body dedicated solely to investigating and finding out the truth
concerning the reported cases of graft and corruption during the previous administration, and which will
recommend the prosecution of the offenders and secure justice for all;

WHEREAS, Book III, Chapter 10, Section 31 of Executive Order No. 292, otherwise known as the Revised
Administrative Code of the Philippines, gives the President the continuing authority to reorganize the Office of the
President.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BENIGNO SIMEON AQUINO III, President of the Republic of the Philippines, by virtue of the
powers vested in me by law, do hereby order:

SECTION 1. Creation of a Commission. There is hereby created the PHILIPPINE TRUTH COMMISSION,
hereinafter referred to as the COMMISSION, which shall primarily seek and find the truth on, and toward this end,
investigate reports of graft and corruption of such scale and magnitude that shock and offend the moral and
ethical sensibilities of the people, committed by public officers and employees, their co-principals, accomplices and
accessories from the private sector, if any, during the previous administration; and thereafter recommend the
appropriate action or measure to be taken thereon to ensure that the full measure of justice shall be served without
fear or favor.
The Commission shall be composed of a Chairman and four (4) members who will act as an independent
collegial body.

SECTION 2. Powers and Functions. The Commission, which shall have all the powers of an investigative body
under Section 37, Chapter 9, Book I of the Administrative Code of 1987, is primarily tasked to conduct a thorough
fact-finding investigation of reported cases of graft and corruption referred to in Section 1, involving third level public
officers and higher, their co-principals, accomplices and accessories from the private sector, if any, during the
previous administration and thereafter submit its finding and recommendations to the President, Congress and the
Ombudsman.

In particular, it shall:

a) Identify and determine the reported cases of such graft and corruption which it will investigate;

b) Collect, receive, review and evaluate evidence related to or regarding the cases of large scale corruption
which it has chosen to investigate, and to this end require any agency, official or employee of the Executive Branch,
including government-owned or controlled corporations, to produce documents, books, records and other papers;

c) Upon proper request or representation, obtain information and documents from the Senate and the House of
Representatives records of investigations conducted by committees thereof relating to matters or subjects being
investigated by the Commission;

d) Upon proper request and representation, obtain information from the courts, including the Sandiganbayan
and the Office of the Court Administrator, information or documents in respect to corruption cases filed with the
Sandiganbayan or the regular courts, as the case may be;

e) Invite or subpoena witnesses and take their testimonies and for that purpose, administer oaths or affirmations as
the case may be;

f) Recommend, in cases where there is a need to utilize any person as a state witness to ensure that the ends of
justice be fully served, that such person who qualifies as a state witness under the Revised Rules of Court of the
Philippines be admitted for that purpose;

g) Turn over from time to time, for expeditious prosecution, to the appropriate prosecutorial authorities, by means
of a special or interim report and recommendation, all evidence on corruption of public officers and employees and
their private sector co-principals, accomplices or accessories, if any, when in the course of its investigation the
Commission finds that there is reasonable ground to believe that they are liable for graft and corruption under
pertinent applicable laws;

h) Call upon any government investigative or prosecutorial agency such as the Department of Justice or any of
the agencies under it, and the Presidential Anti-Graft Commission, for such assistance and cooperation as it may
require in the discharge of its functions and duties;

i) Engage or contract the services of resource persons, professionals and other personnel determined by it as
necessary to carry out its mandate;

j) Promulgate its rules and regulations or rules of procedure it deems necessary to effectively and efficiently carry
out the objectives of this Executive Order and to ensure the orderly conduct of its investigations, proceedings and
hearings, including the presentation of evidence;

k) Exercise such other acts incident to or are appropriate and necessary in connection with the objectives and
purposes of this Order.

SECTION 3. Staffing Requirements. x x x.

SECTION 4. Detail of Employees. x x x.

SECTION 5. Engagement of Experts. x x x

SECTION 6. Conduct of Proceedings. x x x.

SECTION 7. Right to Counsel of Witnesses/Resource Persons. x x x.

SECTION 8. Protection of Witnesses/Resource Persons. x x x.

SECTION 9. Refusal to Obey Subpoena, Take Oath or Give Testimony. Any government official or personnel
who, without lawful excuse, fails to appear upon subpoena issued by the Commission or who, appearing before the
Commission refuses to take oath or affirmation, give testimony or produce documents for inspection, when required,
shall be subject to administrative disciplinary action. Any private person who does the same may be dealt with in
accordance with law.

SECTION 10. Duty to Extend Assistance to the Commission. x x x.

SECTION 11. Budget for the Commission. The Office of the President shall provide the necessary funds for the
Commission to ensure that it can exercise its powers, execute its functions, and perform its duties and responsibilities
as effectively, efficiently, and expeditiously as possible.

SECTION 12. Office. x x x.

SECTION 13. Furniture/Equipment. x x x.

SECTION 14. Term of the Commission. The Commission shall accomplish its mission on or before December
31, 2012.

SECTION 15. Publication of Final Report. x x x.

SECTION 16. Transfer of Records and Facilities of the Commission. x x x.

SECTION 17. Special Provision Concerning Mandate. If and when in the judgment of the President there is a
need to expand the mandate of the Commission as defined in Section 1 hereof to include the investigation of cases
and instances of graft and corruption during the prior administrations, such mandate may be so extended
accordingly by way of a supplemental Executive Order.



SECTION 18. Separability Clause. If any provision of this Order is declared unconstitutional, the same shall not
affect the validity and effectivity of the other provisions hereof.

SECTION 19. Effectivity. This Executive Order shall take effect immediately.

DONE in the City of Manila, Philippines, this 30
th
day of July 2010.

(SGD.) BENIGNO S. AQUINO III

By the President:

(SGD.) PAQUITO N. OCHOA, JR.
Executive Secretary

Nature of the Truth Commission

As can be gleaned from the above-quoted provisions, the Philippine Truth Commission (PTC) is a mere ad hoc body formed
under the Office of the President with theprimary task to investigate reports of graft and corruption committed by third-level public
officers and employees, their co-principals, accomplices and accessories during the previous administration, and thereafter to submit
its finding and recommendations to the President, Congress and the Ombudsman. Though it has been described as an independent
collegial body, it is essentially an entity within the Office of the President Proper and subject to his control. Doubtless, it constitutes a
public office, as an ad hoc body is one.
[8]


To accomplish its task, the PTC shall have all the powers of an investigative body under Section 37, Chapter 9, Book I of the
Administrative Code of 1987. It is not, however, a quasi-judicial body as it cannot adjudicate, arbitrate, resolve, settle, or render
awards in disputes between contending parties. All it can do is gather, collect and assess evidence of graft and corruption and make
recommendations. It may have subpoena powers but it has no power to cite people in contempt, much less order their
arrest. Although it is a fact-finding body, it cannot determine from such facts if probable cause exists as to warrant the filing of an
information in our courts of law. Needless to state, it cannot impose criminal, civil or administrative penalties or sanctions.

The PTC is different from the truth commissions in other countries which have been created as official, transitory and non-
judicial fact-finding bodies to establish the facts and context of serious violations of human rights or of international humanitarian law
in a countrys past.
[9]
They are usually established by states emerging from periods of internal unrest, civil strife or authoritarianism to
serve as mechanisms for transitional justice.

Truth commissions have been described as bodies that share the following characteristics: (1) they examine only past events;
(2) they investigate patterns of abuse committed over a period of time, as opposed to a particular event; (3) they are temporary
bodies that finish their work with the submission of a report containing conclusions and recommendations; and (4) they are officially
sanctioned, authorized or empowered by the State.
[10]
Commissions members are usually empowered to conduct research, support
victims, and propose policy recommendations to prevent recurrence of crimes. Through their investigations, the commissions may aim
to discover and learn more about past abuses, or formally acknowledge them. They may aim to prepare the way for prosecutions and
recommend institutional reforms.
[11]


Thus, their main goals range from retribution to reconciliation. The Nuremburg and Tokyo war crime tribunals are examples of
a retributory or vindicatory body set up to try and punish those responsible for crimes against humanity. A form of a reconciliatory
tribunal is the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa, the principal function of which was to heal the wounds of past
violence and to prevent future conflict by providing a cathartic experience for victims.

The PTC is a far cry from South Africas model. The latter placed more emphasis on reconciliation than on judicial retribution,
while the marching order of the PTC is the identification and punishment of perpetrators. As one writer
[12]
puts it:


The order ruled out reconciliation. It translated the Draconian code spelled out by Aquino in his inaugural
speech: To those who talk about reconciliation, if they mean that they would like us to simply forget about the
wrongs that they have committed in the past, we have this to say: There can be no reconciliation without justice.
When we allow crimes to go unpunished, we give consent to their occurring over and over again.

The Thrusts of the Petitions

Barely a month after the issuance of Executive Order No. 1, the petitioners asked the Court to declare it unconstitutional and
to enjoin the PTC from performing its functions. A perusal of the arguments of the petitioners in both cases shows that they are
essentially the same. The petitioners-legislators summarized them in the following manner:

(a) E.O. No. 1 violates the separation of powers as it arrogates the power of the Congress to create a
public office and appropriate funds for its operation.

(b) The provision of Book III, Chapter 10, Section 31 of the Administrative Code of 1987 cannot legitimize
E.O. No. 1 because the delegated authority of the President to structurally reorganize the Office of the President to
achieve economy, simplicity and efficiency does not include the power to create an entirely new public office
which was hitherto inexistent like the Truth Commission.

(c) E.O. No. 1 illegally amended the Constitution and pertinent statutes when it vested the Truth
Commission with quasi-judicial powers duplicating, if not superseding, those of the Office of the Ombudsman
created under the 1987 Constitution and the Department of Justice created under the Administrative Code of 1987.

(d) E.O. No. 1 violates the equal protection clause as it selectively targets for investigation and prosecution
officials and personnel of the previous administration as if corruption is their peculiar species even as it excludes
those of the other administrations, past and present, who may be indictable.

(e) The creation of the Philippine Truth Commission of 2010 violates the consistent and general
international practice of four decades wherein States constitute truth commissions to exclusively investigate human
rights violations, which customary practice forms part of the generally accepted principles of international law which
the Philippines is mandated to adhere to pursuant to the Declaration of Principles enshrined in the Constitution.

(f) The creation of the Truth Commission is an exercise in futility, an adventure in partisan hostility, a
launching pad for trial/conviction by publicity and a mere populist propaganda to mistakenly impress the people
that widespread poverty will altogether vanish if corruption is eliminated without even addressing the other major
causes of poverty.

(g) The mere fact that previous commissions were not constitutionally challenged is of no moment because
neither laches nor estoppel can bar an eventual question on the constitutionality and validity of an executive
issuance or even a statute.
[13]



In their Consolidated Comment,
[14]
the respondents, through the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), essentially questioned
the legal standing of petitioners and defended the assailed executive order with the following arguments:

1] E.O. No. 1 does not arrogate the powers of Congress to create a public office because the Presidents
executive power and power of control necessarily include the inherent power to conduct investigations to ensure
that laws are faithfully executed and that, in any event, the Constitution, Revised Administrative Code of 1987 (E.O.
No. 292),
[15]
Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 1416
[16]
(as amended by P.D. No. 1772), R.A. No. 9970,
[17]
and settled
jurisprudence that authorize the President to create or form such bodies.

2] E.O. No. 1 does not usurp the power of Congress to appropriate funds because there is no appropriation
but a mere allocation of funds already appropriated by Congress.

3] The Truth Commission does not duplicate or supersede the functions of the Office of the
Ombudsman (Ombudsman) and the Department of Justice (DOJ),because it is a fact-finding body and not a quasi-
judicial body and its functions do not duplicate, supplant or erode the latters jurisdiction.

4] The Truth Commission does not violate the equal protection clause because it was validly created for
laudable purposes.


The OSG then points to the continued existence and validity of other executive orders and presidential issuances creating
similar bodies to justify the creation of the PTC such as Presidential Complaint and Action Commission (PCAC) by President Ramon B.
Magsaysay, Presidential Committee on Administrative Performance Efficiency (PCAPE)by President Carlos P. Garcia and Presidential
Agency on Reform and Government Operations (PARGO) by President Ferdinand E. Marcos.
[18]

From the petitions, pleadings, transcripts, and memoranda, the following are the principal issues to be resolved:

1. Whether or not the petitioners have the legal standing to file their respective petitions and
question Executive Order No. 1;

2. Whether or not Executive Order No. 1 violates the principle of separation of powers by
usurping the powers of Congress to create and to appropriate funds for public offices, agencies and commissions;

3. Whether or not Executive Order No. 1 supplants the powers of the Ombudsman and the DOJ;

4. Whether or not Executive Order No. 1 violates the equal protection clause; and

5. Whether or not petitioners are entitled to injunctive relief.

Essential requisites for judicial review

Before proceeding to resolve the issue of the constitutionality of Executive Order No. 1, the Court needs to ascertain whether the
requisites for a valid exercise of its power of judicial review are present.

Like almost all powers conferred by the Constitution, the power of judicial review is subject to limitations, to wit: (1) there must be
an actual case or controversy calling for the exercise of judicial power; (2) the person challenging the act must have the standing to
question the validity of the subject act or issuance; otherwise stated, he must have a personal and substantial interest in the case such
that he has sustained, or will sustain, direct injury as a result of its enforcement; (3) the question of constitutionality must be raised at the
earliest opportunity; and (4) the issue of constitutionality must be the very lis mota of the case.
[19]


Among all these limitations, only the legal standing of the petitioners has been put at issue.

Legal Standing of the Petitioners

The OSG attacks the legal personality of the petitioners-legislators to file their petition for failure to demonstrate their personal
stake in the outcome of the case. It argues that the petitioners have not shown that they have sustained or are in danger of sustaining
any personal injury attributable to the creation of the PTC. Not claiming to be the subject of the commissions investigations, petitioners
will not sustain injury in its creation or as a result of its proceedings.
[20]


The Court disagrees with the OSG in questioning the legal standing of the petitioners-legislators to assail Executive Order No. 1.
Evidently, their petition primarily invokes usurpation of the power of the Congress as a body to which they belong as members. This
certainly justifies their resolve to take the cudgels for Congress as an institution and present the complaints on the usurpation of their
power and rights as members of the legislature before the Court. As held in Philippine Constitution Association v. Enriquez,
[21]


To the extent the powers of Congress are impaired, so is the power of each member thereof, since his
office confers a right to participate in the exercise of the powers of that institution.
An act of the Executive which injures the institution of Congress causes a derivative but nonetheless
substantial injury, which can be questioned by a member of Congress. In such a case, any member of Congress
can have a resort to the courts.

Indeed, legislators have a legal standing to see to it that the prerogative, powers and privileges vested by the Constitution in
their office remain inviolate. Thus, they are allowed to question the validity of any official action which, to their mind, infringes on their
prerogatives as legislators.
[22]


With regard to Biraogo, the OSG argues that, as a taxpayer, he has no standing to question the creation of the PTC and the
budget for its operations.
[23]
It emphasizes that the funds to be used for the creation and operation of the commission are to be taken
from those funds already appropriated by Congress. Thus, the allocation and disbursement of funds for the commission will not entail
congressional action but will simply be an exercise of the Presidents power over contingent funds.

As correctly pointed out by the OSG, Biraogo has not shown that he sustained, or is in danger of sustaining, any personal and
direct injury attributable to the implementation of Executive Order No. 1. Nowhere in his petition is an assertion of a clear right that may
justify his clamor for the Court to exercise judicial power and to wield the axe over presidential issuances in defense of the
Constitution. The case of David v. Arroyo
[24]
explained the deep-seated rules on locus standi. Thus:

Locus standi is defined as a right of appearance in a court of justice on a given question. In private suits,
standing is governed by the real-parties-in interest rule as contained in Section 2, Rule 3 of the 1997 Rules of Civil
Procedure, as amended. It provides that every action must be prosecuted or defended in the name of the real
party in interest. Accordingly, the real-party-in interest is the party who stands to be benefited or injured by the
judgment in the suit or the party entitled to the avails of the suit. Succinctly put, the plaintiffs standing is based on
his own right to the relief sought.

The difficulty of determining locus standi arises in public suits. Here, the plaintiff who asserts a public right
in assailing an allegedly illegal official action, does so as a representative of the general public. He may be a
person who is affected no differently from any other person. He could be suing as a stranger, or in the category of
a citizen, or taxpayer. In either case, he has to adequately show that he is entitled to seek judicial protection. In
other words, he has to make out a sufficient interest in the vindication of the public order and the securing of relief as
a citizen or taxpayer.

Case law in most jurisdictions now allows both citizen and taxpayer standing in public actions. The
distinction was first laid down in Beauchamp v. Silk, where it was held that the plaintiff in a taxpayers suit is in a
different category from the plaintiff in a citizens suit. In the former, the plaintiff is affected by the expenditure of
public funds, while in the latter, he is but the mere instrument of the public concern. As held by the New York
Supreme Court in People ex rel Case v. Collins: In matter of mere public right, howeverthe people are the real
partiesIt is at least the right, if not the duty, of every citizen to interfere and see that a public offence be properly
pursued and punished, and that a public grievance be remedied. With respect to taxpayers suits, Terr v.
Jordan held that the right of a citizen and a taxpayer to maintain an action in courts to restrain the unlawful use of
public funds to his injury cannot be denied.

However, to prevent just about any person from seeking judicial interference in any official policy or act
with which he disagreed with, and thus hinders the activities of governmental agencies engaged in public service,
the United State Supreme Court laid down the more stringent direct injury test in Ex Parte Levitt, later reaffirmed
in Tileston v. Ullman. The same Court ruled that for a private individual to invoke the judicial power to determine the
validity of an executive or legislative action, he must show that he has sustained a direct injury as a result of that
action, and it is not sufficient that he has a general interest common to all members of the public.

This Court adopted the direct injury test in our jurisdiction. In People v. Vera, it held that the person who
impugns the validity of a statute must have a personal and substantial interest in the case such that he has
sustained, or will sustain direct injury as a result. The Vera doctrine was upheld in a litany of cases, such
as, Custodio v. President of the Senate, Manila Race Horse Trainers Association v. De la Fuente, Pascual v. Secretary
of Public Works and Anti-Chinese League of the Philippines v. Felix. [Emphases included. Citations omitted]


Notwithstanding, the Court leans on the doctrine that the rule on standing is a matter of procedure, hence, can be relaxed
for nontraditional plaintiffs like ordinary citizens, taxpayers, and legislators when the public interest so requires, such as when the matter
is of transcendental importance, of overreaching significance to society, or of paramount public interest.
[25]


Thus, in Coconut Oil Refiners Association, Inc. v. Torres,
[26]
the Court held that in cases of paramount importance where serious
constitutional questions are involved, the standing requirements may be relaxed and a suit may be allowed to prosper even where
there is no direct injury to the party claiming the right of judicial review. In the firstEmergency Powers Cases,
[27]
ordinary citizens and
taxpayers were allowed to question the constitutionality of several executive orders although they had only an indirect and general
interest shared in common with the public.

The OSG claims that the determinants of transcendental importance
[28]
laid down in CREBA v. ERC and Meralco
[29]
are non-
existent in this case. The Court, however, finds reason in Biraogos assertion that the petition covers matters of transcendental
importance to justify the exercise of jurisdiction by the Court. There are constitutional issues in the petition which deserve the attention
of this Court in view of their seriousness, novelty and weight as precedents. Where the issues are of transcendental and paramount
importance not only to the public but also to the Bench and the Bar, they should be resolved for the guidance of all.
[30]
Undoubtedly,
the Filipino people are more than interested to know the status of the Presidents first effort to bring about a promised change to the
country. The Court takes cognizance of the petition not due to overwhelming political undertones that clothe the issue in the eyes of
the public, but because the Court stands firm in its oath to perform its constitutional duty to settle legal controversies with overreaching
significance to society.

Power of the President to Create the Truth Commission

In his memorandum in G.R. No. 192935, Biraogo asserts that the Truth Commission is a public office and not merely an adjunct
body of the Office of the President.
[31]
Thus, in order that the President may create a public office he must be empowered by the
Constitution, a statute or an authorization vested in him by law. According to petitioner, such power cannot be presumed
[32]
since
there is no provision in the Constitution or any specific law that authorizes the President to create a truth commission.
[33]
He adds that
Section 31 of the Administrative Code of 1987, granting the President the continuing authority to reorganize his office, cannot serve as
basis for the creation of a truth commission considering the aforesaid provision merely uses verbs such as reorganize, transfer,
consolidate, merge, and abolish.
[34]
Insofar as it vests in the President the plenary power to reorganize the Office of the President
to the extent of creating a public office, Section 31 is inconsistent with the principle of separation of powers enshrined in the
Constitution and must be deemed repealed upon the effectivity thereof.
[35]


Similarly, in G.R. No. 193036, petitioners-legislators argue that the creation of a public office lies within the province of Congress
and not with the executive branch of government. They maintain that the delegated authority of the President to reorganize under
Section 31 of the Revised Administrative Code: 1) does not permit the President to create a public office, much less a truth commi ssion;
2) is limited to the reorganization of the administrative structure of the Office of the President; 3) is limited to the restructuring of the
internal organs of the Office of the President Proper, transfer of functions and transfer of agencies; and 4) only to achieve simplicity,
economy and efficiency.
[36]
Such continuing authority of the President to reorganize his office is limited, and by issuing Executive Order
No. 1, the President overstepped the limits of this delegated authority.

The OSG counters that there is nothing exclusively legislative about the creation by the President of a fact-finding body such
as a truth commission. Pointing to numerous offices created by past presidents, it argues that the authority of the President to create
public offices within the Office of the President Proper has long been recognized.
[37]
According to the OSG, the Executive, just like the
other two branches of government, possesses the inherent authority to create fact-finding committees to assist it in the performance of
its constitutionally mandated functions and in the exercise of its administrative functions.
[38]
This power, as the OSG explains it, is but an
adjunct of the plenary powers wielded by the President under Section 1 and his power of control under Section 17, both of Article VII of
the Constitution.
[39]


It contends that the President is necessarily vested with the power to conduct fact-finding investigations, pursuant to his duty
to ensure that all laws are enforced by public officials and employees of his department and in the exercise of his authority to assume
directly the functions of the executive department, bureau and office, or interfere with the discretion of his officials.
[40]
The power of the
President to investigate is not limited to the exercise of his power of control over his subordinates in the executive branch, but extends
further in the exercise of his other powers, such as his power to discipline subordinates,
[41]
his power for rule making, adjudication and
licensing purposes
[42]
and in order to be informed on matters which he is entitled to know.
[43]


The OSG also cites the recent case of Banda v. Ermita,
[44]
where it was held that the President has the power to reorganize the
offices and agencies in the executive department in line with his constitutionally granted power of control and by virtue of a valid
delegation of the legislative power to reorganize executive offices under existing statutes.

Thus, the OSG concludes that the power of control necessarily includes the power to create offices. For the OSG, the
President may create the PTC in order to, among others, put a closure to the reported large scale graft and corruption in the
government.
[45]


The question, therefore, before the Court is this: Does the creation of the PTC fall within the ambit of the power to reorganize
as expressed in Section 31 of the Revised Administrative Code? Section 31 contemplates reorganization as limited by the following
functional and structural lines: (1) restructuring the internal organization of the Office of the President Proper by abolishing,
consolidating or merging units thereof or transferring functions from one unit to another; (2) transferring any function under the Office of
the President to any other Department/Agency or vice versa; or (3) transferring any agency under the Office of the President to any
other Department/Agency or vice versa. Clearly, the provision refers to reduction of personnel, consolidation of offices, or abolition
thereof by reason of economy or redundancy of functions. These point to situations where a body or an office is already existent but a
modification or alteration thereof has to be effected. The creation of an office is nowhere mentioned, much less envisioned in said
provision. Accordingly, the answer to the question is in the negative.

To say that the PTC is borne out of a restructuring of the Office of the President under Section 31 is a misplaced supposition,
even in the plainest meaning attributable to the term restructure an alteration of an existing structure. Evidently, the PTC was not
part of the structure of the Office of the President prior to the enactment of Executive Order No. 1. As held in Buklod ng Kawaning EIIB
v. Hon. Executive Secretary,
[46]



But of course, the list of legal basis authorizing the President to reorganize any department or agency in the
executive branch does not have to end here. We must not lose sight of the very source of the power that which
constitutes an express grant of power. Under Section 31, Book III of Executive Order No. 292 (otherwise known as the
Administrative Code of 1987), "the President, subject to the policy in the Executive Office and in order to achieve
simplicity, economy and efficiency, shall have the continuing authority to reorganize the administrative structure of
the Office of the President." For this purpose, he may transfer the functions of other Departments or Agencies to the
Office of the President. In Canonizado v. Aguirre [323 SCRA 312 (2000)], we ruled that reorganization "involves the
reduction of personnel, consolidation of offices, or abolition thereof by reason of economy or redundancy of
functions." It takes place when there is an alteration of the existing structure of government offices or units therein,
including the lines of control, authority and responsibility between them. The EIIB is a bureau attached to the
Department of Finance. It falls under the Office of the President. Hence, it is subject to the Presidents continuing
authority to reorganize. [Emphasis Supplied]


In the same vein, the creation of the PTC is not justified by the Presidents power of control. Control is essentially the power to
alter or modify or nullify or set aside what a subordinate officer had done in the performance of his duties and to substitute the
judgment of the former with that of the latter.
[47]
Clearly, the power of control is entirely different from the power to create public
offices. The former is inherent in the Executive, while the latter finds basis from either a valid delegation from Congress, or his inherent
duty to faithfully execute the laws.

The question is this, is there a valid delegation of power from Congress, empowering the President to create a public office?

According to the OSG, the power to create a truth commission pursuant to the above provision finds statutory basis under
P.D. 1416, as amended by P.D. No. 1772.
[48]
The said law granted the President the continuing authority to reorganize the national
government, including the power to group, consolidate bureaus and agencies, to abolish offices, to transfer functions, to create and
classify functions, services and activities, transfer appropriations, and to standardize salaries and materials. This decree, in relation to
Section 20, Title I, Book III of E.O. 292 has been invoked in several cases such as Larin v. Executive Secretary.
[49]


The Court, however, declines to recognize P.D. No. 1416 as a justification for the President to create a public office. Said
decree is already stale, anachronistic and inoperable. P.D. No. 1416 was a delegation to then President Marcos of the authori ty to
reorganize the administrative structure of the national government including the power to create offices and transfer appropriations
pursuant to one of the purposes of the decree, embodied in its last Whereas clause:

WHEREAS, the transition towards the parliamentary form of government will necessitate flexibility in the
organization of the national government.


Clearly, as it was only for the purpose of providing manageability and resiliency during the interim, P.D. No. 1416, as amended
by P.D. No. 1772, became functus oficioupon the convening of the First Congress, as expressly provided in Section 6, Article XVIII of the
1987 Constitution. In fact, even the Solicitor General agrees with this view. Thus:


ASSOCIATE JUSTICE CARPIO: Because P.D. 1416 was enacted was the last whereas clause of P.D. 1416 says it was
enacted to prepare the transition from presidential to
parliamentary. Now, in a parliamentary form of government, the
legislative and executive powers are fused, correct?

SOLICITOR GENERAL CADIZ: Yes, Your Honor.

ASSOCIATE JUSTICE CARPIO: That is why, that P.D. 1416 was issued. Now would you agree with me that P.D. 1416
should not be considered effective anymore upon the
promulgation, adoption, ratification of the 1987 Constitution.

SOLICITOR GENERAL CADIZ: Not the whole of P.D. [No.] 1416, Your Honor.

ASSOCIATE JUSTICE CARPIO: The power of the President to reorganize the entire National Government is deemed
repealed, at least, upon the adoption of the 1987 Constitution,
correct.

SOLICITOR GENERAL CADIZ: Yes, Your Honor.
[50]



While the power to create a truth commission cannot pass muster on the basis of P.D. No. 1416 as amended by P.D. No. 1772, the
creation of the PTC finds justification under Section 17, Article VII of the Constitution, imposing upon the President the duty to ensure
that the laws are faithfully executed. Section 17 reads:

Section 17. The President shall have control of all the executive departments, bureaus, and offices. He shall
ensure that the laws be faithfully executed. (Emphasis supplied).

As correctly pointed out by the respondents, the allocation of power in the three principal branches of government is a grant
of all powers inherent in them. The Presidents power to conduct investigations to aid him in ensuring the faithful execution of laws in
this case, fundamental laws on public accountability and transparency is inherent in the Presidents powers as the Chief Executive.
That the authority of the President to conduct investigations and to create bodies to execute this power is not explicitly mentioned in
the Constitution or in statutes does not mean that he is bereft of such authority.
[51]
As explained in the landmark case of Marcos v.
Manglapus:
[52]


x x x. The 1987 Constitution, however, brought back the presidential system of government and restored the
separation of legislative, executive and judicial powers by their actual distribution among three distinct branches of
government with provision for checks and balances.

It would not be accurate, however, to state that "executive power" is the power to enforce the laws, for
the President is head of state as well as head of government and whatever powers inhere in such positions pertain
to the office unless the Constitution itself withholds it. Furthermore, the Constitution itself provides that the execution
of the laws is only one of the powers of the President. It also grants the President other powers that do not involve
the execution of any provision of law, e.g., his power over the country's foreign relations.


On these premises, we hold the view that although the 1987 Constitution imposes limitations on the exercise
of specific powers of the President, it maintains intact what is traditionally considered as within the scope of
"executive power." Corollarily, the powers of the President cannot be said to be limited only to the specific powers
enumerated in the Constitution. In other words, executive power is more than the sum of specific powers so
enumerated.

It has been advanced that whatever power inherent in the government that is neither legislative nor
judicial has to be executive. x x x.


Indeed, the Executive is given much leeway in ensuring that our laws are faithfully executed. As stated above, the powers of the
President are not limited to those specific powers under the Constitution.
[53]
One of the recognized powers of the President granted
pursuant to this constitutionally-mandated duty is the power to create ad hoccommittees. This flows from the obvious need to
ascertain facts and determine if laws have been faithfully executed. Thus, in Department of Health v. Camposano,
[54]
the authority of
the President to issue Administrative Order No. 298, creating an investigative committee to look into the administrative charges filed
against the employees of the Department of Health for the anomalous purchase of medicines was upheld. In said case, it was ruled:

The Chief Executives power to create the Ad hoc Investigating Committee cannot be doubted. Having been
constitutionally granted full control of the Executive Department, to which respondents belong, the President has the
obligation to ensure that all executive officials and employees faithfully comply with the law. With AO 298 as
mandate, the legality of the investigation is sustained. Such validity is not affected by the fact that the investigating
team and the PCAGC had the same composition, or that the former used the offices and facilities of the latter in
conducting the inquiry. [Emphasis supplied]

It should be stressed that the purpose of allowing ad hoc investigating bodies to exist is to allow an inquiry into matters which
the President is entitled to know so that he can be properly advised and guided in the performance of his duties relative to the
execution and enforcement of the laws of the land. And if history is to be revisited, this was also the objective of the investigative
bodies created in the past like the PCAC, PCAPE, PARGO, the Feliciano Commission, the Melo Commission and the Zenarosa
Commission. There being no changes in the government structure, the Court is not inclined to declare such executive power as non-
existent just because the direction of the political winds have changed.

On the charge that Executive Order No. 1 transgresses the power of Congress to appropriate funds for the operation of a
public office, suffice it to say that there will be no appropriation but only an allotment or allocations of existing funds already
appropriated. Accordingly, there is no usurpation on the part of the Executive of the power of Congress to appropriate funds. Further,
there is no need to specify the amount to be earmarked for the operation of the commission because, in the words of the Solicitor
General, whatever funds the Congress has provided for the Office of the President will be the very source of the funds for the
commission.
[55]
Moreover, since the amount that would be allocated to the PTC shall be subject to existing auditing rules and
regulations, there is no impropriety in the funding.

Power of the Truth Commission to Investigate

The Presidents power to conduct investigations to ensure that laws are faithfully executed is well recognized. It flows from
the faithful-execution clause of the Constitution under Article VII, Section 17 thereof.
[56]
As the Chief Executive, the president represents
the government as a whole and sees to it that all laws are enforced by the officials and employees of his department. He has the
authority to directly assume the functions of the executive department.
[57]


Invoking this authority, the President constituted the PTC to primarily investigate reports of graft and corruption and to recommend
the appropriate action. As previously stated, no quasi-judicial powers have been vested in the said body as it cannot adjudicate rights
of persons who come before it. It has been said that Quasi-judicial powers involve the power to hear and determine questions of fact
to which the legislative policy is to apply and to decide in accordance with the standards laid down by law itself in enforcing and
administering the same law.
[58]
In simpler terms, judicial discretion is involved in the exercise of these quasi-judicial power, such that it is
exclusively vested in the judiciary and must be clearly authorized by the legislature in the case of administrative agencies.

The distinction between the power to investigate and the power to adjudicate was delineated by the Court in Cario v.
Commission on Human Rights.
[59]
Thus:

"Investigate," commonly understood, means to examine, explore, inquire or delve or probe into, research
on, study. The dictionary definition of "investigate" is "to observe or study closely: inquire into systematically: "to search
or inquire into: x x to subject to an official probe x x: to conduct an official inquiry." The purpose of investigation, of
course, is to discover, to find out, to learn, obtain information. Nowhere included or intimated is the notion of settling,
deciding or resolving a controversy involved in the facts inquired into by application of the law to the facts
established by the inquiry.

The legal meaning of "investigate" is essentially the same: "(t)o follow up step by step by patient inquiry or
observation. To trace or track; to search into; to examine and inquire into with care and accuracy; to find out by
careful inquisition; examination; the taking of evidence; a legal inquiry;" "to inquire; to make an investigation,"
"investigation" being in turn described as "(a)n administrative function, the exercise of which ordinarily does not
require a hearing. 2 Am J2d Adm L Sec. 257; x x an inquiry, judicial or otherwise, for the discovery and collection of
facts concerning a certain matter or matters."

"Adjudicate," commonly or popularly understood, means to adjudge, arbitrate, judge, decide, determine,
resolve, rule on, settle. The dictionary defines the term as "to settle finally (the rights and duties of the parties to a
court case) on the merits of issues raised: x x to pass judgment on: settle judicially: x x act as judge." And "adjudge"
means "to decide or rule upon as a judge or with judicial or quasi-judicial powers: x x to award or grant judicially in a
case of controversy x x."
In the legal sense, "adjudicate" means: "To settle in the exercise of judicial authority. To determine finally.
Synonymous with adjudge in its strictest sense;" and "adjudge" means: "To pass on judicially, to decide, settle or
decree, or to sentence or condemn. x x. Implies a judicial determination of a fact, and the entry of a
judgment." [Italics included. Citations Omitted]

Fact-finding is not adjudication and it cannot be likened to the judicial function of a court of justice, or even a quasi-judicial
agency or office. The function of receiving evidence and ascertaining therefrom the facts of a controversy is not a judicial function. To
be considered as such, the act of receiving evidence and arriving at factual conclusions in a controversy must be accompanied by
the authority of applying the law to the factual conclusions to the end that the controversy may be decided or resolved
authoritatively, finally and definitively, subject to appeals or modes of review as may be provided by law.
[60]
Even respondents
themselves admit that the commission is bereft of any quasi-judicial power.
[61]


Contrary to petitioners apprehension, the PTC will not supplant the Ombudsman or the DOJ or erode their respective powers. If
at all, the investigative function of the commission will complement those of the two offices. As pointed out by the Solicitor General,
the recommendation to prosecute is but a consequence of the overall task of the commission to conduct a fact-finding
investigation.
[62]
The actual prosecution of suspected offenders, much less adjudication on the merits of the charges against
them,
[63]
is certainly not a function given to the commission. The phrase, when in the course of its investigation, under Section 2(g),
highlights this fact and gives credence to a contrary interpretation from that of the petitioners. The function of determining probable
cause for the filing of the appropriate complaints before the courts remains to be with the DOJ and the Ombudsman.
[64]


At any rate, the Ombudsmans power to investigate under R.A. No. 6770 is not exclusive but is shared with other similarly
authorized government agencies. Thus, in the case of Ombudsman v. Galicia,
[65]
it was written:

This power of investigation granted to the Ombudsman by the 1987 Constitution and The Ombudsman Act is
not exclusive but is shared with other similarly authorized government agencies such as the PCGG and judges of
municipal trial courts and municipal circuit trial courts. The power to conduct preliminary investigation on charges
against public employees and officials is likewise concurrently shared with the Department of Justice. Despite the
passage of the Local Government Code in 1991, the Ombudsman retains concurrent jurisdiction with the Office of
the President and the local Sanggunians to investigate complaints against local elective officials. [Emphasis
supplied].


Also, Executive Order No. 1 cannot contravene the power of the Ombudsman to investigate criminal cases under Section 15 (1)
of R.A. No. 6770, which states:

(1) Investigate and prosecute on its own or on complaint by any person, any act or omission of any public
officer or employee, office or agency, when such act or omission appears to be illegal, unjust, improper or
inefficient. It has primary jurisdiction over cases cognizable by the Sandiganbayan and, in the exercise of its primary
jurisdiction, it may take over, at any stage, from any investigatory agency of government, the investigation of such
cases. [Emphases supplied]


The act of investigation by the Ombudsman as enunciated above contemplates the conduct of a preliminary investigation or
the determination of the existence of probable cause. This is categorically out of the PTCs sphere of functions. Its power to investigate
is limited to obtaining facts so that it can advise and guide the President in the performance of his duties relative to the execution and
enforcement of the laws of the land. In this regard, the PTC commits no act of usurpation of the Ombudsmans primordial duties.

The same holds true with respect to the DOJ. Its authority under Section 3 (2), Chapter 1, Title III, Book IV in the Revised
Administrative Code is by no means exclusive and, thus, can be shared with a body likewise tasked to investigate the commission of
crimes.

Finally, nowhere in Executive Order No. 1 can it be inferred that the findings of the PTC are to be accorded conclusiveness. Much
like its predecessors, the Davide Commission, the Feliciano Commission and the Zenarosa Commission, its findings would, at best, be
recommendatory in nature. And being so, the Ombudsman and the DOJ have a wider degree of latitude to decide whether or not to
reject the recommendation. These offices, therefore, are not deprived of their mandated duties but will instead be aided by the
reports of the PTC for possible indictments for violations of graft laws.

Violation of the Equal Protection Clause

Although the purpose of the Truth Commission falls within the investigative power of the President, the Court finds difficulty in
upholding the constitutionality of Executive Order No. 1 in view of its apparent transgression of the equal protecti on clause enshrined in
Section 1, Article III (Bill of Rights) of the 1987 Constitution. Section 1 reads:

Section 1. No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, nor shall any
person be denied the equal protection of the laws.

The petitioners assail Executive Order No. 1 because it is violative of this constitutional safeguard. They contend that it does
not apply equally to all members of the same class such that the intent of singling out the previous administration as its sole object
makes the PTC an adventure in partisan hostility.
[66]
Thus, in order to be accorded with validity, the commission must also cover
reports of graft and corruption in virtually all administrations previous to that of former President Arroyo.
[67]


The petitioners argue that the search for truth behind the reported cases of graft and corruption must encompass acts
committed not only during the administration of former President Arroyo but also during prior administrations where the same
magnitude of controversies and anomalies
[68]
were reported to have been committed against the Filipino people. They assail the
classification formulated by the respondents as it does not fall under the recognized exceptions because first, there is no substantial
distinction between the group of officials targeted for investigation by Executive Order No. 1 and other groups or persons who abused
their public office for personal gain; and second, the selective classification is not germane to the purpose of Executive Order No. 1 to
end corruption.
[69]
In order to attain constitutional permission, the petitioners advocate that the commission should deal with graft
and grafters prior and subsequent to the Arroyo administration with the strong arm of the law with equal force.
[70]


Position of respondents

According to respondents, while Executive Order No. 1 identifies the previous administration as the initial subject of the
investigation, following Section 17 thereof, the PTC will not confine itself to cases of large scale graft and corruption solely during the
said administration.
[71]
Assuming arguendo that the commission would confine its proceedings to officials of the previous
administration, the petitioners argue that no offense is committed against the equal protection clause for the segregation of the
transactions of public officers during the previous administration as possible subjects of investigation is a valid classification based on
substantial distinctions and is germane to the evils which the Executive Order seeks to correct.
[72]
To distinguish the Arroyo
administration from past administrations, it recited the following:

First. E.O. No. 1 was issued in view of widespread reports of large scale graft and corruption in the previous
administration which have eroded public confidence in public institutions. There is, therefore, an urgent call for the
determination of the truth regarding certain reports of large scale graft and corruption in the government and to
put a closure to them by the filing of the appropriate cases against those involved, if warranted, and to deter others
from committing the evil, restore the peoples faith and confidence in the Government and in their public servants.

Second. The segregation of the preceding administration as the object of fact-finding is warranted by the
reality that unlike with administrations long gone, the current administration will most likely bear the immediate
consequence of the policies of the previous administration.

Third. The classification of the previous administration as a separate class for investigation lies in the reality
that the evidence of possible criminal activity, the evidence that could lead to recovery of public monies illegally
dissipated, the policy lessons to be learned to ensure that anti-corruption laws are faithfully executed, are more
easily established in the regime that immediately precede the current administration.

Fourth. Many administrations subject the transactions of their predecessors to investigations to provide
closure to issues that are pivotal to national life or even as a routine measure of due diligence and good
housekeeping by a nascent administration like the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG), created
by the late President Corazon C. Aquino under Executive Order No. 1 to pursue the recovery of ill-gotten wealth of
her predecessor former President Ferdinand Marcos and his cronies, and the Saguisag Commission created by
former President Joseph Estrada under Administrative Order No, 53, to form an ad-hoc and independent citizens
committee to investigate all the facts and circumstances surrounding Philippine Centennial projects of his
predecessor, former President Fidel V. Ramos.
[73]
[Emphases supplied]

Concept of the Equal Protection Clause

One of the basic principles on which this government was founded is that of the equality of right which is embodied in Section 1,
Article III of the 1987 Constitution. The equal protection of the laws is embraced in the concept of due process, as every unfair
discrimination offends the requirements of justice and fair play. It has been embodied in a separate clause, however, to provide for a
more specific guaranty against any form of undue favoritism or hostility from the government. Arbitrariness in general may be
challenged on the basis of the due process clause. But if the particular act assailed partakes of an unwarranted partiality or prejudice,
the sharper weapon to cut it down is the equal protectionclause.
[74]


According to a long line of decisions, equal protection simply requires that all persons or things similarly situated should be
treated alike, both as to rights conferred and responsibilities imposed.
[75]
It requires public bodies and institutions to treat similarly
situated individuals in a similar manner.
[76]
The purpose of the equal protection clause is to secure every person within a states
jurisdiction against intentional and arbitrary discrimination, whether occasioned by the express terms of a statue or by its improper
execution through the states duly constituted authorities.
[77]
In other words, the concept of equal justice under the law requires the
state to govern impartially, and it may not draw distinctions between individuals solely on differences that are irrelevant to a legitimate
governmental objective.
[78]


The equal protection clause is aimed at all official state actions, not just those of the legislature.
[79]
Its inhibitions cover all the
departments of the government including the political and executive departments, and extend to all actions of a state denying equal
protection of the laws, through whatever agency or whatever guise is taken.
[80]


It, however, does not require the universal application of the laws to all persons or things without distinction. What it simply
requires is equality among equals as determined according to a valid classification. Indeed, the equal protection clause permits
classification. Such classification, however, to be valid must pass the test of reasonableness. The test has four requisites: (1) The
classification rests on substantial distinctions; (2) It is germane to the purpose of the law; (3) It is not limited to existing conditions only;
and
(4) It applies equally to all members of the same class.
[81]
Superficial differences do not make for a valid classification.
[82]


For a classification to meet the requirements of constitutionality, it must include or embrace all persons who naturally belong
to the class.
[83]
The classification will be regarded as invalid if all the members of the class are not similarly treated, both as to rights
conferred and obligations imposed. It is not necessary that the classification be made with absolute symmetry, in the sense that the
members of the class should possess the same characteristics in equal degree. Substantial similarity will suffice; and as long as this is
achieved, all those covered by the classification are to be treated equally. The mere fact that an individual belonging to a class
differs from the other members, as long as that class is substantially distinguishable from all others, does not justify the non-application of
the law to him.
[84]


The classification must not be based on existing circumstances only, or so constituted as to preclude addition to the number
included in the class. It must be of such a nature as to embrace all those who may thereafter be in similar circumstances and
conditions. It must not leave out or underinclude those that should otherwise fall into a certain classification. As elucidated
in Victoriano v. Elizalde Rope Workers' Union
[85]
and reiterated in a long line of cases,
[86]

The guaranty of equal protection of the laws is not a guaranty of equality in the application of the laws
upon all citizens of the state. It is not, therefore, a requirement, in order to avoid the constitutional prohibition against
inequality, that every man, woman and child should be affected alike by a statute. Equality of operation of statutes
does not mean indiscriminate operation on persons merely as such, but on persons according to the circumstances
surrounding them. It guarantees equality, not identity of rights. The Constitution does not require that things which are
different in fact be treated in law as though they were the same. The equal protection clause does not forbid
discrimination as to things that are different. It does not prohibit legislation which is limited either in the object to
which it is directed or by the territory within which it is to operate.

The equal protection of the laws clause of the Constitution allows classification. Classification in law, as in the
other departments of knowledge or practice, is the grouping of things in speculation or practice because they
agree with one another in certain particulars. A law is not invalid because of simple inequality. The very idea of
classification is that of inequality, so that it goes without saying that the mere fact of inequality in no manner
determines the matter of constitutionality. All that is required of a valid classification is that it be reasonable, which
means that the classification should be based on substantial distinctions which make for real differences, that it must
be germane to the purpose of the law; that it must not be limited to existing conditions only; and that it must apply
equally to each member of the class. This Court has held that the standard is satisfied if the classification or
distinction is based on a reasonable foundation or rational basis and is not palpably arbitrary. [Citations omitted]

Applying these precepts to this case, Executive Order No. 1 should be struck down as violative of the equal protection
clause. The clear mandate of the envisioned truth commission is to investigate and find out the truth concerning the reported cases
of graft and corruption during the previous administration
[87]
only. The intent to single out the previous administration is plain, patent
and manifest. Mention of it has been made in at least three portions of the questioned executive order. Specifically, these are:

WHEREAS, there is a need for a separate body dedicated solely to investigating and finding out the truth concerning
the reported cases of graft and corruption during theprevious administration, and which will recommend the
prosecution of the offenders and secure justice for all;

SECTION 1. Creation of a Commission. There is hereby created the PHILIPPINE TRUTH COMMISSION, hereinafter
referred to as the COMMISSION, which shall primarily seek and find the truth on, and toward this end, investigate
reports of graft and corruption of such scale and magnitude that shock and offend the moral and ethical sensibilities
of the people, committed by public officers and employees, their co-principals, accomplices and accessories from
the private sector, if any, during the previous administration; and thereafter recommend the appropriate action or
measure to be taken thereon to ensure that the full measure of justice shall be served without fear or favor.

SECTION 2. Powers and Functions. The Commission, which shall have all the powers of an investigative body under
Section 37, Chapter 9, Book I of the Administrative Code of 1987, is primarily tasked to conduct a thorough fact-
finding investigation of reported cases of graft and corruption referred to in Section 1, involving third level public
officers and higher, their co-principals, accomplices and accessories from the private sector, if any, during
the previous administration and thereafter submit its finding and recommendations to the President, Congress and
the Ombudsman. [Emphases supplied]

In this regard, it must be borne in mind that the Arroyo administration is but just a member of a class, that is, a class of past
administrations. It is not a class of its own. Not to include past administrations similarly situated constitutes arbitrariness which the equal
protection clause cannot sanction. Such discriminating differentiation clearly reverberates to label the commission as a vehicle for
vindictiveness and selective retribution.

Though the OSG enumerates several differences between the Arroyo administration and other past administrations, these
distinctions are not substantial enough to merit the restriction of the investigation to the previous administration only. The reports of
widespread corruption in the Arroyo administration cannot be taken as basis for distinguishing said administration from earli er
administrations which were also blemished by similar widespread reports of impropriety. They are not inherent in, and do not inure solely
to, the Arroyo administration. As Justice Isagani Cruz put it, Superficial differences do not make for a valid classification.
[88]



The public needs to be enlightened why Executive Order No. 1 chooses to limit the scope of the intended investigation to the
previous administration only. The OSG ventures to opine that to include other past administrations, at this point, may unnecessarily
overburden the commission and lead it to lose its effectiveness.
[89]
The reason given is specious. It is without doubt irrelevant to the
legitimate and noble objective of the PTC to stamp out or end corruption and the evil it breeds.
[90]


The probability that there would be difficulty in unearthing evidence or that the earlier reports involving the earlier
administrations were already inquired into is beside the point. Obviously, deceased presidents and cases which have already
prescribed can no longer be the subjects of inquiry by the PTC. Neither is the PTC expected to conduct simultaneous investigations of
previous administrations, given the bodys limited time and resources. The law does not require the impossible (Lex non cogit ad
impossibilia).
[91]


Given the foregoing physical and legal impossibility, the Court logically recognizes the unfeasibility of investigating almost a
centurys worth of graft cases. However, the fact remains that Executive Order No. 1 suffers from arbitrary classification. The PTC, to be
true to its mandate of searching for the truth, must not exclude the other past administrations. The PTC must, at least, have the
authority to investigate all past administrations. While reasonable prioritization is permitted, it should not be arbitrary lest it be struck
down for being unconstitutional. In the often quoted language of Yick Wo v. Hopkins,
[92]




Though the law itself be fair on its face and impartial in appearance, yet, if applied and administered by
public authority with an evil eye and an unequal hand, so as practically to make unjust and illegal discriminations
between persons in similar circumstances, material to their rights, the denial of equal justice is still within the
prohibition of the constitution. [Emphasis supplied]

It could be argued that considering that the PTC is an ad hoc body, its scope is limited. The Court, however, is of the
considered view that although its focus is restricted, the constitutional guarantee of equal protection under the laws should not in any
way be circumvented. The Constitution is the fundamental and paramount law of the nation to which all other laws must conform and
in accordance with which all private rights determined and all public authority administered.
[93]
Laws that do not conform to the
Constitution should be stricken down for being unconstitutional.
[94]
While the thrust of the PTC is specific, that is, for investigation of acts
of graft and corruption, Executive Order No. 1, to survive, must be read together with the provisions of the Constitution. To exclude the
earlier administrations in the guise of substantial distinctions would only confirm the petitioners lament that the subject executive
order is only an adventure in partisan hostility. In the case of US v. Cyprian,
[95]
it was written: A rather limited number of such
classifications have routinely been held or assumed to be arbitrary; those include: race, national origin, gender, political activity or
membership in a political party, union activity or membership in a labor union, or more generally the exercise of first amendment
rights.

To reiterate, in order for a classification to meet the requirements of constitutionality, it must include or embrace all persons
who naturally belong to the class.
[96]
Such a classification must not be based on existing circumstances only, or so constituted as to
preclude additions to the number included within a class, but must be of such a nature as to embrace all those who may thereafter be
in similar circumstances and conditions. Furthermore, all who are in situations and circumstances which are relative to the
discriminatory legislation and which are indistinguishable from those of the members of the class must be brought under the influence
of the law and treated by it in the same way as are the members of the class.
[97]


The Court is not unaware that mere underinclusiveness is not fatal to the validity of a law under the equal protection
clause.
[98]
Legislation is not unconstitutional merely because it is not all-embracing and does not include all the evils within its
reach.
[99]
It has been written that a regulation challenged under the equal protection clause is not devoid of a rational predicate
simply because it happens to be incomplete.
[100]
In several instances, the underinclusiveness was not considered a valid reason to strike
down a law or regulation where the purpose can be attained in future legislations or regulations. These cases refer to the step by
step process.
[101]
With regard to equal protection claims, a legislature does not run the risk of losing the entire remedial scheme simply
because it fails, through inadvertence or otherwise, to cover every evil that might conceivably have been attacked.
[102]


In Executive Order No. 1, however, there is no inadvertence. That the previous administration was picked out was deliberate
and intentional as can be gleaned from the fact that it was underscored at least three times in the assailed executive order. It must be
noted that Executive Order No. 1 does not even mention any particular act, event or report to be focused on unlike the investigative
commissions created in the past. The equal protection clause is violated by purposeful and intentional discrimination.
[103]


To disprove petitioners contention that there is deliberate discrimination, the OSG clarifies that the commission does not only
confine itself to cases of large scale graft and corruption committed during the previous administration.
[104]
The OSG points to Section
17 of Executive Order No. 1, which provides:


SECTION 17. Special Provision Concerning Mandate. If and when in the judgment of the President there is a need to
expand the mandate of the Commission as defined in Section 1 hereof to include the investigation of cases and
instances of graft and corruption during the prior administrations, such mandate may be so extended accordingly
by way of a supplemental Executive Order.


The Court is not convinced. Although Section 17 allows the President the discretion to expand the scope of investigations of
the PTC so as to include the acts of graft and corruption committed in other past administrations, it does not guarantee that they
would be covered in the future. Such expanded mandate of the commission will still depend on the whim and caprice of the
President. If he would decide not to include them, the section would then be meaningless. This will only fortify the fears of the
petitioners that the Executive Order No. 1 was crafted to tailor-fit the prosecution of officials and personalities of the Arroyo
administration.
[105]




The Court tried to seek guidance from the pronouncement in the case of Virata v. Sandiganbayan,
[106]
that the PCGG
Charter (composed of Executive Orders Nos. 1, 2 and 14) does not violate the equal protection clause. The decision, however, was
devoid of any discussion on how such conclusory statement was arrived at, the principal issue in said case being only the sufficiency of
a cause of action.

A final word

The issue that seems to take center stage at present is - whether or not the Supreme Court, in the exercise of its constitutionally
mandated power of Judicial Review with respect to recent initiatives of the legislature and the executive department, is exercising
undue interference. Is the Highest Tribunal, which is expected to be the protector of the Constitution, itself guilty of violating
fundamental tenets like the doctrine of separation of powers? Time and again, this issue has been addressed by the Court, but it seems
that the present political situation calls for it to once again explain the legal basis of its action lest it continually be accused of being a
hindrance to the nations thrust to progress.

The Philippine Supreme Court, according to Article VIII, Section 1 of the 1987 Constitution, is vested with Judicial Power that
includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable,
and to determine whether or not there has been a grave of abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part
of any branch or instrumentality of the government.

Furthermore, in Section 4(2) thereof, it is vested with the power of judicial review which is the power to declare a treaty,
international or executive agreement, law, presidential decree, proclamation, order, instruction, ordinance, or regulation
unconstitutional. This power also includes the duty to rule on the constitutionality of the application, or operation of presidential
decrees, proclamations, orders, instructions, ordinances, and other regulations. These provisions, however, have been fertile grounds of
conflict between the Supreme Court, on one hand, and the two co-equal bodies of government, on the other. Many times the Court
has been accused of asserting superiority over the other departments.

To answer this accusation, the words of Justice Laurel would be a good source of enlightenment, to wit: And when the
judiciary mediates to allocate constitutional boundaries, it does not assert any superiority over the other departments; it does not in
reality nullify or invalidate an act of the legislature, but only asserts the solemn and sacred obligation assigned to it by the Constitution
to determine conflicting claims of authority under the Constitution and to establish for the parties in an actual controversy the rights
which that instrument secures and guarantees to them.
[107]


Thus, the Court, in exercising its power of judicial review, is not imposing its own will upon a co-equal body but rather simply
making sure that any act of government is done in consonance with the authorities and rights allocated to it by the Constitution. And,
if after said review, the Court finds no constitutional violations of any sort, then, it has no more authority of proscribing the actions under
review. Otherwise, the Court will not be deterred to pronounce said act as void and unconstitutional.

It cannot be denied that most government actions are inspired with noble intentions, all geared towards the betterment of
the nation and its people. But then again, it is important to remember this ethical principle: The end does not justify the means. No
matter how noble and worthy of admiration the purpose of an act, but if the means to be employed in accomplishing it is simply
irreconcilable with constitutional parameters, then it cannot still be allowed.
[108]
The Court cannot just turn a blind eye and simply let it
pass. It will continue to uphold the Constitution and its enshrined principles.

The Constitution must ever remain supreme. All must bow to the mandate of this law. Expediency must not
be allowed to sap its strength nor greed for power debase its rectitude.
[109]



Lest it be misunderstood, this is not the death knell for a truth commission as nobly envisioned by the present
administration. Perhaps a revision of the executive issuance so as to include the earlier past administrations would allow it to pass the
test of reasonableness and not be an affront to the Constitution. Of all the branches of the government, it is the judiciary which is the
most interested in knowing the truth and so it will not allow itself to be a hindrance or obstacle to its attainment. It must, however, be
emphasized that the search for the truth must be within constitutional bounds for ours is still a government of laws and not of men.
[110]


WHEREFORE, the petitions are GRANTED. Executive Order No. 1 is hereby declared UNCONSTITUTIONAL insofar as it is
violative of the equal protection clause of the Constitution.

As also prayed for, the respondents are hereby ordered to cease and desist from carrying out the provisions of Executive
Order No. 1.

SO ORDERED.

Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. 83578 March 16, 1989
THE PRESIDENTIAL ANTI-DOLLAR SALTING TASK FORCE, petitioner,
vs.
HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, HONORABLE TEOFILO L, GUADIZ, JR.,Presiding Judge, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, Branch 147: NCR
(MAKATI), and KARAMFIL IMPORT-EXPORT CO., INC., respondents.
K. V. Faylona & Associates for respondents.

SARMIENTO, J.:
The petitioner, the Presidential Anti-Dollar Salting Task Force, the President's arm assigned to investigate and prosecute so-called "dollar
salting" activities in the country (per Presidential Decree No. 1936 as amended by Presidential Decree No. 2002), asks the Court to hold
as null and void two Resolutions of the Court of Appeals, dated September 24, 1987 1 and May 20, 1988, 2 reversing its Decision, dated
October 24, 1986. 3 The Decision set aside an Order, dated April 16, 1985, of the Regional Trial Court, 4 as well as its Order, dated
August 21, 1985. The Resolution, dated September 24, 1987 disposed of, and granted, the private respondent Karamfil Import-Export
Co., Inc.'s motion for reconsideration of the October 24, 1986 Decision; the Resolution dated May 20, 1988, in turn, denied the
petitioner's own motion for reconsideration.
The facts are not in controversy. We quote:
On March 12, 1985, State Prosecutor Jose B. Rosales, who is assigned with the Presidential Anti -Dollar Salting Task
Force hereinafter referred to as PADS Task Force for purposes of convenience, issued search warrants Nos. 156, 157,
158, 159, 160 and 161 against the petitioners Karamfil Import-Export Co., Inc., P & B Enterprises Co., Inc., Philippine
Veterans Corporation, Philippine Veterans Development Corporation, Philippine Construction Development
Corporation, Philippine Lauan Industries Corporation, Inter-trade Development (Alvin Aquino), Amelili U. Malaquiok
Enterprises and Jaime P. Lucman Enterprises.
The application for the issuance of said search warrants was filed by Atty. Napoleon Gatmaytan of the Bureau of Customs who is a
deputized member of the PADS Task Force. Attached to the said application is the affidavit of Josefin M. Castro who is an operative
and investigator of the PADS Task Force. Said Josefin M. Castro is likewise the sole deponent in the purported deposition to support the
application for the issuance of the six (6) search warrants involved in this case. The application filed by Atty. Gatmaytan, the affidavit
and deposition of Josefin M. Castro are all dated March 12, 1985. 5
Shortly thereafter, the private respondent (the petitioner below) went to the Regional Trial Court on a petition to enjoin the
implementation of the search warrants in question. 6 On March 13, 1985, the trial court issued a temporary restraining order [effective
"for a period of five (5) days notice " 7 ] and set the case for hearing on March 18, 1985.
In disposing of the petition, the said court found the material issues to be:
1) Competency of this Court to act on petition filed by the petitioners;
2) Validity of the search warrants issued by respondent State Prosecutor;
3) Whether or not the petition has become moot and academic because all the search warrants sought to be
quashed had already been implemented and executed. 8
On April 16, 1985, the lower court issued the first of its challenged Orders, and held:
WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, the Court hereby declares Search Warrant Nos. 156, 157, 158, 159, 160, and
161 to be null and void. Accordingly, the respondents are hereby ordered to return and surrender immediately all
the personal properties and documents seized by them from the petitioners by virtue of the aforementioned search
warrants.
SO ORDERED. 9
On August 21, 1985, the trial court denied reconsideration.
On April 4, 1986, the Presidential Anti-Dollar Salting Task Force went to the respondent Court of Appeals to contest, on certiorari, the
twin Order(s) of the lower court.
In ruling initially for the Task Force, the Appellate Court held:
Herein petitioner is a special quasi-judicial body with express powers enumerated under PD 1936 to prosecute
foreign exchange violations defined and punished under P.D. No. 1883.
The petitioner, in exercising its quasi-judicial powers, ranks with the Regional Trial Courts, and the latter in the case at
bar had no jurisdiction to declare the search warrants in question null and void.
Besides as correctly pointed out by the Assistant Solicitor General the decision of the Presidential Anti -Dollar Salting
Task Force is appealable to the Office of the President.10
On November 12, 1986, Karamfil Import-Export Co., Inc. sought a reconsideration, on the question primarily of whether or not the
Presidential Anti-Dollar Salting Task Force is "such other responsible officer' countenanced by the 1973 Constitution to issue warrants of
search and seizure.
As we have indicated, the Court of Appeals, on Karamfil's motion, reversed itself and issued its Resolution, dated September 1987, and
subsequently, its Resolution, dated May 20, 1988, denying the petitioner's motion for reconsideration.
In its petition to this Court, the petitioner alleges that in so issuing the Resolution(s) above-mentioned, the respondent Court of Appeals
"committed grave abuse of discretion and/or acted in excess of its appellate jurisdiction," 11 specifically:
a) In deviating from the settled policy and rulings of the Supreme Court that no Regional Trial Courts may
countermand or restrain the enforcement of lawful writs or decrees issued by a quasi-judicial body of equal and
coordinate rank, like the PADS Task Force;
b) For resorting to judicial legislation to arrive at its erroneous basis for reconsidering its previous Decision dated
October 24, 1986 (see Annex "I") and thus promulgated the questioned Resolutions (Annexes "A" and "B"), which
violated the constitutional doctrine on separation of powers;
c) In not resolving directly the other important issues raised by the petitioner in its Petition in CA-G.R. No. 08622-SP
despite the fact that petitioner has demonstrated sufficiently and convincingly that respondent RTC, in issuing the
questioned Orders in Special Proceeding No. M-624 (see Annexes "C" and 'D"), committed grave abuse of discretion
and/or acted in excess of jurisdiction:
1. In ruling that (a) the description of the things to be seized as stated in the contested search warrant were too
general which allegedly render the search warrants null and void; (b) the applications for the contested search
warrants actually charged two offenses in contravention of the 2nd paragraph, Section 3, Rule 126 of the Rules of
Court; and (c) this case has not become moot and academic, even if the contested search warrants had already
been fully implemented with positive results; and
2. In ruling that the petitioner PADS Task Force has not been granted under PD 1936 'judicial or quasi-judicial
jurisdiction. 12
We find, upon the foregoing facts, that the essential questions that confront us are- (i) is the Presidential Anti-Dollar Salting Task Force a
quasi-judicial body, and one co-equal in rank and standing with the Regional Trial Court, and accordingly, beyond the latter's
jurisdiction; and (ii) may the said presidential body be said to be "such other responsible officer as may be authorized by l aw" to issue
search warrants under the 1973 Constitution questions we take up seriatim.**
In submitting that it is a quasi-judicial entity, the petitioner states that it is endowed with "express powers and functions under PD No.
1936, to prosecute foreign exchange violations as defined and punished under PD No. 1883." 13 "By the very nature of its express
powers as conferred by the laws," so it is contended, "which are decidedly quasi -judicial or discretionary function, such as to conduct
preliminary investigation on the charges of foreign exchange violations, issue search warrants or warrants of arrest, hold departure
orders, among others, and depending upon the evidence presented, to dismiss the charges or to file the corresponding information in
court of Executive Order No. 934, PD No. 1936 and its Implementing Rules and Regulations effective August 26, 1984), petitioner
exercises quasi-judicial power or the power of adjudication ." 14
The Court of Appeals, in its Resolution now assailed, 15 was of the opinion that "[t]he grant of quasi-judicial powers to petitioner did not
diminish the regular courts' judicial power of interpretation. The right to interpret a law and, if necessary to declare one
unconstitutional, exclusively pertains to the judiciary. In assuming this function, courts do not proceed on the theory that the judiciary is
superior to the two other coordinate branches of the government, but solely on the theory that they are required to declare the law in
every case which come before them." 16
This Court finds the Appellate Court to be in error, since what the petitioner puts to question is the Regional Trial Court's act of assuming
jurisdiction over the private respondent's petition below and its subsequent countermand of the Presidential Anti -Dollar Salting Task
Force's orders of search and seizure, for the reason that the presidential body, as an entity (allegedly) coordinate and co-equal with
the Regional Trial Court, was (is) not vested with such a jurisdiction. An examination of the Presidential Anti -Dollar Salting Task Force's
petition shows indeed its recognition of judicial review (of the acts of Government) as a basic privilege of the courts. Its objection,
precisely, is whether it is the Regional Trial Court, or the superior courts, that may undertake such a review.
Under the Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980, 17 the Court of Appeals exercises:
(3) Exclusive appellate jurisdiction over all final judgments, decisions, resolutions, orders or awards of Regional Trial
Court and quasi-judicial agencies, instrumentalities, boards or commissions, except those falling within the appellate
jurisdiction of the Supreme Court in accordance with the Constitution, the provisions of this Act, and of
subparagraph (1) of the third paragraph and subparagraph (4) of the fourth paragraph of Section 17 of the
Judiciary Act of 1948. 18
xxx xxx xxx
Under the present Constitution, with respect to its provisions on Constitutional Commissions, it is provided, in part that:
... Unless otherwise provided by this Constitution or by law, any decision, order, or ruling of each Commission may be
brought to the Supreme Court on certiorari by the aggrieved party within thirty days from receipt of a copy
thereof. 19
On the other hand, Regional Trial Courts have exclusive original jurisdiction:
(6) In all cases not within the exclusive jurisdiction of any court, tribunal, person or body exercising judicial or quasi-
judicial functions. 20
xxx xxx xxx
Likewise:
... The Supreme Court may designate certain branches of the Regional Trial Court to handle exclusively criminal
cases, juvenile and domestic relations cases, agrarian case, urban land reform cases which do not fall under the
jurisdiction of quasi- judicial bodies and agencies and/or such other special cases as the Supreme Court may
determine in the interest of a speedy and efficient administration of justice. 21
xxx xxx xxx
Under our Resolution dated January 11, 1983: 22
... The appeals to the Intermediate Appellate Court [now, Court of Appeals] from quasi-judicial bodies shall continue
to be governed by the provisions of Republic Act No. 5434 insofar as the same is not inconsistent with the provisions
of B.P. Blg. 129. 23
The pertinent provisions of Republic Act No. 5434 are as follows:
SECTION 1. Appeals from specified agencies. Any provision of existing law or Rule of Court to the contrary
notwithstanding, parties aggrieved by a final ruling, award, order, decision, or judgment of the Court of Agrarian
Relations; the Secretary of Labor under Section 7 of Republic Act Numbered Six hundred and two, also known as the
"Minimum Wage Law"; the Department of Labor under Section 23 of Republic Act Numbered Eight hundred seventy-
five, also known as the "Industrial Peace Act"; the Land Registration Commission; the Securities and Exchange
Commission; the Social Security Commission; the Civil Aeronautics Board; the Patent Office and the Agricultural
Inventions Board, may appeal therefrom to the Court of Appeals, within the period and in the manner herein
provided, whether the appeal involves questions of fact, mixed questions of fact and law, or questions of law, or all
three kinds of questions. From final judgments or decisions of the Court of Appeals, the aggrieved party may appeal
by certiorari to the Supreme Court as provided in Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. 24
Because of subsequent amendments, including the abolition of various special courts, 25 jurisdiction over quasi-judicial bodies has to
be, consequently, determined by the corresponding amendatory statutes. Under the Labor Code, decisions and awards of the
National Labor Relations Commission are final and executory, but, nevertheless, 'reviewable by this Court through a petition for
certiorari and not by way of appeal." 26
Under the Property Registration Decree, decisions of the Commission of Land Registration, en consults, are appealable to the Court of
Appeals. 27
The decisions of the Securities and Exchange Commission are likewise appealable to the Appellate Court, 28 and so are decisions of
the Social Security Commission.29
As a rule, where legislation provides for an appeal from decisions of certain administrative bodies to the Court of Appeals, it means
that such bodies are co-equal with the Regional Trial Courts, in terms of rank and stature, and logically, beyond the control of the
latter.
As we have observed, the question is whether or not the Presidential Anti-Dollar Salting Task Force is, in the first place, a quasi-judicial
body, and one whose decisions may not be challenged before the regular courts, other than the higher tribunals the Court of Appeals
and this Court.
A quasi-judicial body has been defined as "an organ of government other than a court and other than a legislature, which affects the
rights of private parties through either adjudication or rule making." 30 The most common types of such bodies have been listed as
follows:
(1) Agencies created to function in situations wherein the government is offering some gratuity, grant, or special
privilege, like the defunct Philippine Veterans Board, Board on Pensions for Veterans, and NARRA, and Philippine
Veterans Administration.
(2) Agencies set up to function in situations wherein the government is seeking to carry on certain government
functions, like the Bureau of Immigration, the Bureau of Internal Revenue, the Board of Special Inquiry and Board of
Commissioners, the Civil Service Commission, the Central Bank of the Philippines.
(3) Agencies set up to function in situations wherein the government is performing some business service for the
public, like the Bureau of Posts, the Postal Savings Bank, Metropolitan Waterworks & Sewerage Authority, Philippine
National Railways, the Civil Aeronautics Administration.
(4) Agencies set up to function in situations wherein the government is seeking to regulate business affected with
public interest, like the Fiber Inspections Board, the Philippine Patent Office, Office of the Insurance Commissioner.
(5) Agencies set up to function in situations wherein the government is seeking under the police power to regulate
private business and individuals, like the Securities & Exchange Commission, Board of Food Inspectors, the Board of
Review for Moving Pictures, and the Professional Regulation Commission.
(6) Agencies set up to function in situations wherein the government is seeking to adjust individual controversies
because of some strong social policy involved, such as the National Labor Relations Commission, the Court of
Agrarian Relations, the Regional Offices of the Ministry of Labor, the Social Security Commission, Bureau of Labor
Standards, Women and Minors Bureau. 31
As may be seen, it is the basic function of these bodies to adjudicate claims and/or to determine rights, and unless its decision are
seasonably appealed to the proper reviewing authorities, the same attain finality and become executory. A perusal of the Presidential
Anti-Dollar Salting Task Force's organic act, Presidential Decree No. 1936, as amended by Presidential Decree No. 2002, convinces the
Court that the Task Force was not meant to exercise quasi-judicial functions, that is, to try and decide claims and execute its
judgments. As the President's arm called upon to combat the vice of "dollar salting" or the blackmarketing and salting of foreign
exchange, 32 it is tasked alone by the Decree to handle the prosecution of such activities, but nothing more. We quote:
SECTION 1. Powers of the Presidential Anti-Dollar Salting Task Force.-The Presidential Anti-Dollar Salting Task Force,
hereinafter referred to as Task Force, shall have the following powers and authority:
a) Motu proprio or upon complaint, to investigate and prosecute all dollar salting activities, including the
overvaluation of imports and the undervaluation of exports;
b) To administer oaths, summon persons or issue subpoenas requiring the attendance and testimony of witnesses or
the production of such books, papers, contracts, records, statements of accounts, agreements, and other as may
be necessary in the conduct of investigation;
c) To appoint or designate experts, consultants, state prosecutors or fiscals, investigators and hearing officers to assist
the Task Force in the discharge of its duties and responsibilities; gather data, information or documents; conduct
hearings, receive evidence, both oral and documentary, in all cases involving violation of foreign exchange laws or
regulations; and submit reports containing findings and recommendations for consideration of appropriate
authorities;
d) To punish direct and indirect contempts with the appropriate penalties therefor under Rule 71 of the Rules of
Court; and to adopt such measures and take such actions as may be necessary to implement this Decree.
xxx xxx xxx
f. After due investigation but prior to the filing of the appropriate criminal charges with the fiscal's office or the courts
as the case may be, to impose a fine and/or administrative sanctions as the circumstances warrant, upon any
person found committing or to have committed acts constituting blackmarketing or salting abroad of foreign
exchange, provided said person voluntarily admits the facts and circumstances constituting the offense and
presents proof that the foreign exchange retained abroad has already been brought into the country.
Thereafter, no further civil or criminal action may be instituted against said person before any other judicial
regulatory or administrative body for violation of Presidential Decree No. 1883.
The amount of the fine shall be determined by the Chairman of the Presidential Anti - Dollar Salting Task Force and
paid in Pesos taking into consideration the amount of foreign exchange retained abroad, the exchange rate
differentials, uncollected taxes and duties thereon, undeclared profits, interest rates and such other relevant factors.
The fine shall be paid to the Task Force which shall retain Twenty percent (20 %) thereof. The informer, if any, shall be
entitled to Twenty percent (20 %) of the fine. Should there be no informer, the Task Force shall be entitle to retain
Forty percent (40 %) of the fine and the balance shall accrue to the general funds of the National government. The
amount of the fine to be retained by the Task Force shall form part of its Confidential Fund and be utilized for the
operations of the Task Force . 33
The Court sees nothing in the aforequoted provisions (except with respect to the Task Force's powers to issue search warrants) that will
reveal a legislative intendment to confer it with quasi-judicial responsibilities relative to offenses punished by Presidential Decree No.
1883. Its undertaking, as we said, is simply, to determine whether or not probable cause exists to warrant the filing of charges with the
proper court, meaning to say, to conduct an inquiry preliminary to a judicial recourse, and to recommend action "of appropriate
authorities". It is not unlike a fiscal's office that conducts a preliminary investigation to determine whether or not prima facie evidence
exists to justify haling the respondent to court, and yet, while it makes that determination, it cannot be said to be acting as a quasi-
court. For it is the courts, ultimately, that pass judgment on the accused, not the fiscal.
It is not unlike the Presidential Commission on Good Government either, the executive body appointed to investigate and prosecute
cases involving "ill-gotten wealth". It had been vested with enormous powers, like the issuance of writs of sequestration, freeze orders,
and similar processes, but that did not, on account thereof alone, make it a quasi-judicial entity as defined by recognized authorities. It
cannot pronounce judgement of the accused's culpability, the jurisdiction to do which is exclusive upon the Sandiganbayan. 34
If the Presidential Anti-Dollar Salting Task Force is not, hence, a quasi-judicial body, it cannot be said to be co-equal or coordinate with
the Regional Trial Court. There is nothing in its enabling statutes that would demonstrate its standing at par with the said court.
In that respect, we do not find error in the respondent Court of Appeal's resolution sustaining the assumption of jurisdiction by the
court a quo.
It will not do to say that the fact that the Presidential Task Force has been empowered to issue warrants of arrest, search, and seizure,
makes it, ergo, a "semi-court". Precisely, it is the objection interposed by the private respondent, whether or not it can under the 1973
Charter, issue such kinds of processes.
It must be observed that under the present Constitution, the powers of arrest and search are exclusive upon judges. 35 To that extent,
the case has become moot and academic. Nevertheless, since the question has been specifically put to the Court, we find it
unavoidable to resolve it as the final arbiter of legal controversies, pursuant to the provisions of the 1973 Constitution during whose
regime the case was commenced.
Since the 1973 Constitution took force and effect and until it was so unceremoniously discarded in 1986, its provisions conferring the
power to issue arrest and search warrants upon an officer, other than a judge, by fiat of legislation have been at best controversial.
In Lim v. Ponce de Leon, 36 a 1975 decision, this Court ruled that a fiscal has no authority to issue search warrants, but held in the same
vein that, by virtue of the responsible officer" clause of the 1973 Bill of Rights, "any lawful officer authorized by law can issue a search
warrant or warrant of arrest.37 Authorities, however, have continued to express reservations whether or not fiscals may, by statute, be
given such a power. 38
Less than a year later, we promulgated Collector of Customs v. Villaluz, 39 in which we categorically averred: Until now only the judge
can issue the warrant of arrest." 40 "No law or presidential decree has been enacted or promulgated vesting the same authority in a
particular responsible officer ." 41
Apparently, Villaluz had settled the debate, but the same question persisted following this Courts subsequent rulings upholding the
President's alleged emergency arrest powers .42 [Mr. Justice Hugo Gutierrez would hold, however, that a Presidential Commitment
Order (PCO) is (was) not a species of "arrest" in its technical sense, and that the (deposed) Chief Executive, in issuing one, does not do
so in his capacity as a "responsible officer" under the 1973 Charter, but rather, as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces in times of
emergency, or in order to carry out the deportation of undesirable aliens.43 In the distinguished Justice's opinion then, these are acts
that can be done without need of judicial intervention because they are not, precisely, judicial but Presidential actions.]
In Ponsica v. Ignalaga,44 however, we held that the mayor has been made a "responsible officer' by the Local Government
Code, 45 but had ceased to be one with the approval of the 1987 Constitution according judges sole authority to issue arrest and
search warrants. But in the same breath, we did not rule the grant under the Code unconstitutional based on the provisions of the
former Constitution. We were agreed, though, that the "responsible officer" referred to by the fundamental law should be one capable
of approximating "the cold neutrality of an impartial judge." 46
In striking down Presidential Decree No. 1936 the respondent Court relied on American jurisprudence, notably,Katz v. United
States, 47 Johnson v. United States, 48 and Coolidge v. New Hampshire 49 in which the American Supreme Court ruled that prosecutors
(like the petitioner) cannot be given such powers because of their incapacity for a "detached scrutiny" 50 of the cases before them.
We affirm the Appellate Court.
We agree that the Presidential Anti-Dollar Salting Task Force exercises, or was meant to exercise, prosecutorial powers, and on that
ground, it cannot be said to be a neutral and detached "judge" to determine the existence of probable cause for purposes of arrest or
search. Unlike a magistrate, a prosecutor is naturally interested in the success of his case. Although his office "is to see that justice is
done and not necessarily to secure the conviction of the person accused," 51 he stands, invariably, as the accused's adversary and his
accuser. To permit him to issue search warrants and indeed, warrants of arrest, is to make him both judge and jury in his own right,
when he is neither. That makes, to our mind and to that extent, Presidential Decree No. 1936 as amended by Presidential Decree No.
2002, unconstitutional.
It is our ruling, thus, that when the 1973 Constitution spoke of "responsible officer" to whom the authority to issue arrest and search
warrants may be delegated by legislation, it did not furnish the legislator with the license to give that authority to whomsoever it
pleased. It is to be noted that the Charter itself makes the qualification that the officer himself must be "responsible". We are not saying,
of course, that the Presidential Anti-Dollar Salting Task Force (or any similar prosecutor) is or has been irresponsible in discharging its
duty. Rather, we take "responsibility", as used by the Constitution, to mean not only skill and competence but more significantly,
neutrality and independence comparable to the impartiality presumed of a judicial officer. A prosecutor can in no manner be said to
be possessed of the latter qualities.
According to the Court of Appeals, the implied exclusion of prosecutors under the 1973 Constitution was founded on the requirements
of due process, notably, the assurance to the respondent of an unbiased inquiry of the charges against him prior to the arrest of his
person or seizure of his property. We add that the exclusion is also demanded by the principle of separation of powers on whi ch our
republican structure rests. Prosecutors exercise essentially an executive function (the petitioner itself is chaired by the Minister, now
Secretary, of Trade and Industry), since under the Constitution, the President has pledged to execute the laws. 52 As such, they cannot
be made to issue judicial processes without unlawfully impinging the prerogative of the courts.
At any rate, Ponsica v. Ignalaga should foreclose all questions on the matter, although the Court hopes that this disposition has clarified
a controversy that had generated often bitter debates and bickerings.
The Court joins the Government in its campaign against the scourge of "dollar- salting", a pernicious practice that has substantially
drained the nation's coffers and has seriously threatened its economy. We recognize the menace it has posed (and continues to pose)
unto the very stability of the country, the urgency for tough measures designed to contain if not eradicate it, and foremost, the need
for cooperation from the citizenry in an all-out campaign. But while we support the State's efforts, we do so not at the expense of
fundamental rights and liberties and constitutional safeguards against arbitrary and unreasonable acts of Government. If in the event
that as a result of this ruling, we prove to be an "obstacle" to the vital endeavour of stamping out the blackmarketing of valuable
foreign exchange, we do not relish it and certainly, do not mean it. The Constitution simply does not leave us much choice.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED. No costs. SO ORDERED.
Fernan, C.J., Narvasa, Gutierrez, Jr., Paras, Gancayco, Padilla, Bidin, Grio-Aquino, Medialdea and Regalado, JJ., concur.
Cruz, Feliciano and Cortes, JJ. concur in the result.
Melencio-Herrera, J., took no part.

SECOND DIVISION

KAPISANAN NG MGA KAWANI NG ENERGY REGULATORY
BOARD,
Petitioner,




- versus -




COMMISSIONER FE B. BARIN, DEPUTY COMMISSIONERS
CARLOS R. ALINDADA, LETICIA V. IBAY, OLIVER B. BUTALID,
and MARY ANNE B. COLAYCO, of the ENERGY REGULATORY
COMMISSION,
Respondents.
G.R. No. 150974

Present:

QUISUMBING,
*
J.,
Chairperson,
CARPIO,
**

CARPIO MORALES,
TINGA, and
VELASCO, JR., JJ.







Promulgated:


June 29, 2007

x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - x


D E C I S I O N

CARPIO, J.:

The Case

This is a special civil action for certiorari and prohibition
[1]
of the selection and appointment of employees of the Energy
Regulatory Commission (ERC) by the ERC Board of Commissioners.

Petitioner Kapisanan ng mga Kawani ng Energy Regulatory Board (KERB) seeks to declare Section 38 of Republic Act No. 9136
(RA 9136), which abolished the Energy Regulatory Board (ERB) and created the ERC, as unconstitutional and to prohibit the ERC
Commissioners from filling up the ERCs plantilla.


The Facts

RA 9136, popularly known as EPIRA (for Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001), was enacted on 8 June 2001 and took effect
on 26 June 2001. Section 38 of RA 9136 provides for the abolition of the ERB and the creation of the ERC. The pertinent portions of
Section 38 read:

Creation of the Energy Regulatory Commission. There is hereby created an independent, quasi-judicial
regulatory board to be named the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC). For this purpose, the existing Energy
Regulatory Board (ERB) created under Executive Order No. 172, as amended, is hereby abolished.
The Commission shall be composed of a Chairman and four (4) members to be appointed by the President of
the Philippines. x x x
Within three (3) months from the creation of the ERC, the Chairman shall submit for the approval of the
President of the Philippines the new organizational structure and plantilla positions necessary to carry out the powers
and functions of the ERC.
x x x x
The Chairman and members of the Commission shall assume office at the beginning of their
terms: Provided, That, if upon the effectivity of this Act, the Commission has not been constituted and the new
staffing pattern and plantilla positions have not been approved and filled-up, the current Board and existing
personnel of ERB shall continue to hold office.

The existing personnel of the ERB, if qualified, shall be given preference in the filling up of plantilla positions
created in the ERC, subject to existing civil service rules and regulations.

At the time of the filing of this petition, the ERC was composed of Commissioner Fe B. Barin and Deputy Commissioners Carlos
R. Alindada, Leticia V. Ibay, Oliver B.Butalid, and Mary Anne B. Colayco (collectively, Commissioners). The Commissioners assumed
office on 15 August 2001. Pursuant to Section 38 of RA 9136, the Commissioners issued the proposed Table of Organization, Staffing
Pattern, and Salary Structure on 25 September 2001 which the President of the Philippines approved on 13 November
2001. Meanwhile, KERB submitted to the Commissioners its Resolution No. 2001-02 on 13 September 2001. Resolution No. 2001-02
requested the Commissioners for an opportunity to be informed on the proposed plantilla positions with their equivalent qualification
standards.

On 17 October 2001, the Commissioners issued the guidelines for the selection and hiring of ERC employees. A portion of the
guidelines reflects the Commissioners view on the selection and hiring of the ERC employees vis-a-vis Civil Service rules, thus:

Since R.A. 9136 has abolished the Energy Regulatory Board (ERB), it is the view of the Commission that the
provisions of Republic Act No. 6656 (An Act to Protect the Security of [Tenure of] Civil Service Officers and Employees
in the Implementation of Government Reorganization) will not directly apply to ERCs current efforts to establish a
new organization. Civil Service laws, rules and regulations, however, will have suppletory application to the extent
possible in regard to the selection and placement of employees in the ERC.
[2]
(Emphasis supplied)

On 5 November 2005, KERB sent a letter to the Commissioners stating the KERB members objection to the Commissioners stand
that Civil Service laws, rules and regulations have suppletory application in the selection and placement of the ERC employees. KERB
asserted that RA 9136 did not abolish the ERB or change the ERBscharacter as an economic regulator of the electric power
industry. KERB insisted that RA 9136 merely changed the ERBs name to the ERC and expanded the ERBs functions and
objectives. KERB sent the Commissioners yet another letter on 13 November 2001. KERB made a number of requests: (1) the issuance
of a formal letter related to the date of filing of job applications, including the use of Civil Service application form no. 212; (2) the
creation of a placement/recruitment committee and setting guidelines relative to its functions, without prejudice to existing Civil
Service rules and regulations; and (3) copies of the plantilla positions and their corresponding qualification standards duly approved by
either the President of the Philippines or the Civil Service Commission (CSC).

Commissioner Barin replied to KERBs letter on 15 November 2001. She stated that Civil Service application form no. 212 and the
ERC-prescribed application format are substantially the same. Furthermore, the creation of a placement/recruitment committee is no
longer necessary because there is already a prescribed set of guidelines for the recruitment of personnel. The ERC hired an
independent consultant to administer the necessary tests for the technical and managerial levels. Finally, the ERC already posted
theplantilla positions, which prescribe higher standards, as approved by the Department of Budget and
Management. Commissioner Barin stated that positions in the ERC do not need the prior approval of the CSC, as the ERC is only
required to submit the qualification standards to the CSC.

On 5 December 2001, the ERC published a classified advertisement in the Philippine Star. Two days later, the CSC received a list
of vacancies and qualification standards from the ERC. The ERC formed a Selection Committee to process all applications.

KERB, fearful of the uncertainty of the employment status of its members, filed the present petition on 20 December 2001. KERB
later filed an Urgent Ex Parte Motion to Enjoin Termination of Petitioner ERB Employees on 2 January 2002. However, before the ERC
received KERBs pleadings, the Selection Committee already presented its list of proposed appointees to the Commissioners.

In their Comment, the Commissioners describe the status of the ERB employees appointment in the ERC as follows:

As of February 1, 2002, of the two hundred twelve (212) ERB employees, one hundred thirty eighty [sic] (138)
were rehired and appointed to ERC plantilla positions and sixty six (66) opted to retire or be separated from the
service. Those who were rehired and those who opted to retire or be separated constituted about ninety six (96%)
percent of the entire ERB employees. The list of the ERB employees appointed to new positions in the ERC is
attached hereto as Annex 1. Only eight (8) ERB employees could not be appointed to new positions due to the
reduction of the ERC plantilla and the absence of positions appropriate to their respective qualifications and
skills. The appropriate notice was issued to each of them informing them of their separation from the service and
assuring them of their entitlement to separation pay and other benefits in accordance with existing laws.
[3]


The Issues

KERB raises the following issues before this Court:

1. Whether Section 38 of RA 9136 abolishing the ERB is constitutional; and

2. Whether the Commissioners of the ERC were correct in disregarding and considering merely suppletory in
character the protective mantle of RA 6656 as to the ERB employees or petitioner in this case.
[4]


The Ruling of the Court

The petition has no merit.

We disregard the procedural defects in the petition, such as KERBs personality to file the petition on behalf of its alleged
members and Elmar Agirs authority to institute the action, because of the demands of public interest.
[5]



Constitutionality of the ERBs Abolition
and the ERCs Creation

All laws enjoy the presumption of constitutionality. To justify the nullification of a law, there must be a clear and unequivocal
breach of the Constitution. KERB failed to show any breach of the Constitution.

A public office is created by the Constitution or by law or by an officer or tribunal to which the power to create the office has
been delegated by the legislature.
[6]
The power to create an office carries with it the power to abolish. President Corazon C. Aquino,
then exercising her legislative powers, created the ERB by issuing Executive Order No. 172 on 8 May 1987.

The question of whether a law abolishes an office is a question of legislative intent. There should not be any controversy if there is
an explicit declaration of abolition in the law itself.
[7]
Section 38 of RA 9136 explicitly abolished the ERB. However, abolition of an office
and its related positions is different from removal of an incumbent from his office. Abolition and removal are mutually exclusive
concepts. From a legal standpoint, there is no occupant in an abolished office. Where there is no occupant, there is no tenure to
speak of. Thus, impairment of the constitutional guarantee of security of tenure does not arise in the abolition of an office. On the
other hand, removal implies that the office and its related positions subsist and that the occupants are merely separated from their
positions.
[8]


A valid order of abolition must not only come from a legitimate body, it must also be made in good faith. An abolition is made in
good faith when it is not made for political or personal reasons, or when it does not circumvent the constitutional security of tenure of
civil service employees.
[9]
Abolition of an office may be brought about by reasons of economy, or to remove redundancy of functions,
or a clear and explicit constitutional mandate for such termination of employment.
[10]
Where one office is abolished and replaced with
another office vested with similar functions, the abolition is a legal nullity.
[11]
When there is a void abolition, the incumbent is deemed to
have never ceased holding office.

KERB asserts that there was no valid abolition of the ERB but there was merely a reorganization done in bad faith. Evidences of
bad faith are enumerated in Section 2 of Republic Act No. 6656 (RA 6656),
[12]
Section 2 of RA 6656 reads:

No officer or employee in the career service shall be removed except for a valid cause and after due notice
and hearing. A valid cause for removal exists when, pursuant to a bona fidereorganization, a position has been
abolished or rendered redundant or there is a need to merge, divide, or consolidate positions in order to meet the
exigencies of the service, or other lawful causes allowed by the Civil Service Law. The existence of any or some of
the following circumstances may be considered as evidence of bad faith in the removals made as a result of
reorganization, giving rise to a claim for reinstatement or reappointment by an aggrieved party:
(a) Where there is a significant increase in the number of positions in the new staffing pattern of the
department or agency concerned;
(b) Where an office is abolished and another performing substantially the same functions is created;
(c) Where incumbents are replaced by those less qualified in terms of status of appointment,
performance and merit;
(d) Where there is a reclassification of offices in the department or agency concerned and the
reclassified offices perform substantially the same function as the original offices;
(e) Where the removal violates the order of separation provided in Section 3 hereof.

KERB claims that the present case falls under the situation described in Section 2(b) of RA 6656. We thus need to compare the
provisions enumerating the powers and functions of the ERB and the ERC to see whether they have substantially the same
functions. Under Executive Order No. 172, the ERB has the following powers and functions:

SEC. 3. Jurisdiction, Powers and Functions of the Board. When warranted and only when public necessity
requires, the Board may regulate the business of importing, exporting, re-exporting, shipping, transporting,
processing, refining, marketing and distributing energy resources. Energy resource means any substance or
phenomenon which by itself or in combination with others, or after processing or refining or the application to it of
technology, emanates, generates or causes the emanation or generation of energy, such as but not limited to,
petroleum or petroleum products, coal, marsh gas, methane gas, geothermal and hydroelectric sources of energy,
uranium and other similar radioactive minerals, solar energy, tidal power, as well as non-conventional existing and
potential sources.
The Board shall, upon proper notice and hearing, exercise the following, among other powers and functions:
(a) Fix and regulate the prices of petroleum products;
(b) Fix and regulate the rate schedule or prices of piped gas to be charged by duly franchised gas
companies which distribute gas by means of underground pipe system;
(c) Fix and regulate the rates of pipeline concessionaires under the provisions of Republic Act No. 387, as
amended, otherwise known as the Petroleum Act of 1949, as amended by Presidential Decree No. 1700;
(d) Regulate the capacities of new refineries or additional capacities of existing refineries and license
refineries that may be organized after the issuance of this Executive Order, under such terms and conditions as are
consistent with the national interest;
(e) Whenever the Board has determined that there is a shortage of any petroleum product, or when public
interest so requires, it may take such steps as it may consider necessary, including the temporary adjustment of the
levels of prices of petroleum products and the payment to the Oil Price Stabilization Fund created under Presidential
Decree No. 1956 by persons or entities engaged in the petroleum industry of such amounts as may be determined
by the Board, which will enable the importer to recover its cost of importation.
SEC. 4. Reorganized or Abolished Agency. (a) The Board of Energy is hereby reconstituted into the Energy
Regulatory Board, and the formers powers and functions under Republic Act No. 6173, as amended by Presidential
Decree No. 1208, as amended, are transferred to the latter.
(b) The regulatory and adjudicatory powers and functions exercised by the Bureau of Energy Utilization under
Presidential Decree No. 1206, as amended, are transferred to the Board, the provisions of Executive Order No. 131
notwithstanding.
SEC. 5. Other Transferred Powers and Functions. The power of the Land Transportation Commission to
determine, fix and/or prescribe rates or charges pertaining to the hauling of petroleum products are transferred to
the Board. The power to fix and regulate the rates or charges pertinent to shipping or transporting of petroleum
products shall also be exercised by the Board.
The foregoing transfer of powers and functions shall include applicable funds and appropriations, records,
equipment, property and such personnel as may be necessary; Provided, That with reference to paragraph (b) of
Section 4 hereof, only such amount of funds and appropriations of the Bureau of Energy Utilization, as well as only
the personnel thereof who are completely or primarily involved in the exercise by said Bureau of its regulatory and
adjudicatory powers and functions, shall be affected by such transfer: Provided, further, That the funds and
appropriations as well as the records, equipment, property and all personnel of the reorganized Board of Energy
shall be transferred to the Energy Regulatory Board.
SEC. 6. Power to Promulgate Rules and Perform Other Acts. The Board shall have the power to promulgate
rules and regulations relevant to procedures governing hearings before it and enforce compliance with any rule,
regulation, order or other requirements: Provided, That said rules and regulations shall take effect fifteen (15) days
after publication in the Official Gazette. It shall also perform such other acts as may be necessary or conducive to
the exercise of its powers and functions, and the attainment of the purposes of this Order.

On the other hand, Section 43 of RA 9136 enumerates the basic functions of the ERC.

SEC. 43. Functions of the ERC. The ERC shall promote competition, encourage market development, ensure
customer choice and discourage/penalize abuse of market power in the restructured electricity industry. In
appropriate cases, the ERC is authorized to issue cease and desist order after due notice and hearing. Towards this
end, it shall be responsible for the following key functions in the restructured industry:
(a) Enforce the implementing rules and regulations of this Act;
(b) Within six (6) months from the effectivity of this Act, promulgate and enforce, in accordance with law, a
National Grid Code and a Distribution Code which shall include, but not limited to, the following:
(i) Performance standards for TRANSCO O & M Concessionaire, distribution utilities and
suppliers: Provided, That in the establishment of the performance standards, the nature and function of the
entities shall be considered; and
(ii) Financial capability standards for the generating companies, the TRANSCO, distribution utilities and
suppliers: Provided, That in the formulation of the financial capability standards, the nature and function of
the entity shall be considered: Provided, further, That such standards are set to ensure that the electric
power industry participants meet the minimum financial standards to protect the public interest. Determine,
fix, and approve, after due notice and public hearings the universal charge, to be imposed on all electricity
end-users pursuant to Section 34 hereof;
(c) Enforce the rules and regulations governing the operations of the electricity spot market and the activities
of the spot market operator and other participants in the spot market, for the purpose of ensuring a greater supply
and rational pricing of electricity;
(d) Determine the level of cross subsidies in the existing retail rate until the same is removed pursuant to
Section 73 hereof;
(e) Amend or revoke, after due notice and hearing, the authority to operate of any person or entity which
fails to comply with the provisions hereof, the IRR or any order or resolution of the ERC. In the event a divestment is
required, the ERC shall allow the affected party sufficient time to remedy the infraction or for an orderly disposal, but
shall in no case exceed twelve (12) months from the issuance of the order;
(f) In the public interest, establish and enforce a methodology for setting transmission and distribution
wheeling rates and retail rates for the captive market of a distribution utility, taking into account al l relevant
considerations, including the efficiency or inefficiency of the regulated entities. The rates must be such as to allow
the recovery of just and reasonable costs and a reasonable return on rate base (RORB) to enable the entity to
operate viably. The ERC may adopt alternative forms of internationally-accepted rate setting methodology as it
may deem appropriate. The rate-setting methodology so adopted and applied must ensure a reasonable price of
electricity. The rates prescribed shall be non-discriminatory. To achieve this objective and to ensure the complete
removal of cross subsidies, the cap on the recoverable rate of system losses prescribed in Section 10 of Republic Act
No. 7832, is hereby amended and shall be replaced by caps which shall be determined by the ERC based on load
density, sales mix, cost of service, delivery voltage and other technical considerations it may promulgate. The ERC
shall determine such form of rate-setting methodology, which shall promote efficiency. In case the rate setting
methodology used is RORB, it shall be subject to the following guidelines:
(i) For purposes of determining the rate base, the TRANSCO or any distribution utility may be allowed
to revalue its eligible assets not more than once every three (3) years by an independent appraisal
company: Provided, however, That ERC may give an exemption in case of unusual devaluation: Provided,
further, That the ERC shall exert efforts to minimize price shocks in order to protect the consumers;
(ii) Interest expenses are not allowable deductions from permissible return on rate base;
(iii) In determining eligible cost of services that will be passed on to the end-users, the ERC shall
establish minimum efficiency performance standards for the TRANSCO and distribution utilities including
systems losses, interruption frequency rates, and collection efficiency;
(iv) Further, in determining rate base, the TRANSCO or any distribution utility shall not be allowed to
include management inefficiencies like cost of project delays not excused by forcemajeure, penalties and
related interest during construction applicable to these unexcused delays; and


(v) Any significant operating costs or project investments of TRANSCO and distribution utilities which
shall become part of the rate base shall be subject to the verification of the ERC to ensure that the
contracting and procurement of the equipment, assets and services have been subjected to transparent
and accepted industry procurement and purchasing practices to protect the public interest.
(g) Three (3) years after the imposition of the universal charge, ensure that the charges of the TRANSCO or
any distribution utility shall bear no cross subsidies between grids, within grids, or between classes of customers,
except as provided herein;
(h) Review and approve any changes on the terms and conditions of service of the TRANSCO or any
distribution utility;
(i) Allow the TRANSCO to charge user fees for ancillary services to all electric power industry participants or
self-generating entities connected to the grid. Such fees shall be fixed by the ERC after due notice and public
hearing;
(j) Set a lifeline rate for the marginalized end-users;
(k) Monitor and take measures in accordance with this Act to penalize abuse of market power, cartelization,
and anti-competitive or discriminatory behavior by any electric power industry participant;
(l) Impose fines or penalties for any non-compliance with or breach of this Act, the IRR of this Act and the rules
and regulations which it promulgates or administers;
(m) Take any other action delegated to it pursuant to this Act;
(n) Before the end of April of each year, submit to the Office of the President of the Philippines and Congress,
copy furnished the DOE, an annual report containing such matters or cases which have been filed before or
referred to it during the preceding year, the actions and proceedings undertaken and its decision or resolution in
each case. The ERC shall make copies of such reports available to any interested party upon payment of a charge
which reflects the printing costs. The ERC shall publish all its decisions involving rates and anticompetitive cases in at
least one (1) newspaper of general circulation, and/or post electronically and circulate to all interested electric
power industry participants copies of its resolutions to ensure fair and impartial treatment;
(o) Monitor the activities of the generation and supply of the electric power industry with the end in view of
promoting free market competition and ensuring that the allocation or pass through of bulk purchase cost by
distributors is transparent, non-discriminatory and that any existing subsidies shall be divided pro rata among all retail
suppliers;

(p) Act on applications for or modifications of certificates of public convenience and/or necessity, licenses or
permits of franchised electric utilities in accordance with law and revoke, review and modify such certificates,
licenses or permits in appropriate cases, such as in cases of violations of the Grid Code, Distribution Code and other
rules and regulations issued by the ERC in accordance with law;
(q) Act on applications for cost recovery and return on demand side management projects;
(r) In the exercise of its investigative and quasi-judicial powers, act against any participant or player in the
energy sector for violations of any law, rule and regulation governing the same, including the rules on cross
ownership, anticompetitive practices, abuse of market positions and similar or related acts by any participant in the
energy sector, or by any person as may be provided by law, and require any person or entity to submit any report or
data relative to any investigation or hearing conducted pursuant to this Act;
(s) Inspect, on its own or through duly authorized representatives, the premises, books of accounts and
records of any person or entity at any time, in the exercise of its quasi-judicial power for purposes of determining the
existence of any anticompetitive behavior and/or market power abuse and any violation of rules and regulations
issued by the ERC;
(t) Perform such other regulatory functions as are appropriate and necessary in order to ensure the successful
restructuring and modernization of the electric power industry, such as, but not limited to, the rules and guidelines
under which generation companies, distribution utilities which are not publicly listed shall offer and sell to the public
a portion not less than fifteen percent (15%) of their common shares of stocks: Provided, however, That generation
companies, distribution utilities or their respective holding companies that are already listed in the PSE are deemed
in compliance. For existing companies, such public offering shall be implemented not later than five (5) years from
the effectivity of this Act. New companies shall implement their respective public offerings not later than five (5)
years from the issuance of their certificate of compliance; and
(u) The ERC shall have the original and exclusive jurisdiction over all cases contesting rates, fees, fines and
penalties imposed by the ERC in the exercise of the abovementioned powers, functions and responsibilities and over
all cases involving disputes between and among participants or players in the energy sector.
All notices of hearings to be conducted by the ERC for the purpose of fixing rates or fees shall be published at
least twice for two successive weeks in two (2) newspapers of nationwide circulation.


Aside from Section 43, additional functions of the ERC are scattered throughout RA 9136:

1. SEC. 6. Generation Sector. Generation of electric power, a business affected with public interest, shall be
competitive and open.
Upon the effectivity of this Act, any new generation company shall, before it operates, secure from the
Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) a certificate of compliance pursuant to the standards set forth in this
Act, as well as health, safety and environmental clearances from the appropriate government agencies
under existing laws.
x x x x
2. SEC. 8. Creation of the National Transmission Company. x x x
That the subtransmission assets shall be operated and maintained by TRANSCO until their disposal to
qualified distribution utilities which are in a position to take over the responsibility for operating,
maintaining, upgrading, and expanding said assets. x x x
In case of disagreement in valuation, procedures, ownership participation and other issues, the ERC shall
resolve such issues.
x x x x
3. SEC. 23. Functions of Distribution Utilities. x x x
Distribution utilities shall submit to the ERC a statement of their compliance with the technical specifications
prescribed in the Distribution Code and the performance standards prescribed in the IRR of this Act.
Distribution utilities which do not comply with any of the prescribed technical specifications and
performance standards shall submit to the ERC a plan to comply, within three (3) years, with said
prescribed technical specifications and performance standards. The ERC shall, within sixty (60) days upon
receipt of such plan, evaluate the same and notify the distribution utility concerned of its action. Failure to
submit a feasible and credible plan and/or failure to implement the same shall serve as grounds for the
imposition of appropriate sanctions, fines or penalties.
x x x x
4. SEC. 28. De-monopolization and Shareholding Dispersal. In compliance with the constitutional mandate
for dispersal of ownership and de-monopolization of public utilities, the holdings of persons, natural or
juridical, including directors, officers, stockholders and related interests, in a distribution utility and their
respective holding companies shall not exceed twenty-five (25%) percent of the voting shares of stock
unless the utility or the company holding the shares or its controlling stockholders are already listed in the
Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE): Provided, That controlling stockholders of small distribution utilities are
hereby required to list in the PSE within five (5) years from the enactment of this Act if they already own the
stocks. New controlling stockholders shall undertake such listing within five (5) years from the time they
acquire ownership and control. A small distribution company is one whose peak demand is equal to Ten
megawatts (10MW).
The ERC shall, within sixty (60) days from the effectivity of this Act, promulgate the rules and regulations to
implement and effect this provision.
x x x x
5. SEC. 29. Supply Sector. x x x all suppliers of electricity to the contestable market shall require a license
from the ERC.
For this purpose, the ERC shall promulgate rules and regulations prescribing the qualifications of electricity
suppliers which shall include, among other requirements, a demonstration of their technical capability,
financial capability, and creditworthiness: Provided, That the ERC shall have authority to require electricity
suppliers to furnish a bond or other evidence of the ability of a supplier to withstand market disturbances or
other events that may increase the cost of providing service.
x x x x
6. SEC. 30. Wholesale Electricity Spot Market. x x x
Subject to the compliance with the membership criteria, all generating companies, distribution utilities,
suppliers, bulk consumers/end-users and other similar entities authorized by the ERC shall be eligible to
become members of the wholesale electricity spot market.
The ERC may authorize other similar entities to become eligible as members, either directly or indirectly, of
the wholesale electricity spot market.
x x x x
7. SEC. 31. Retail Competition and Open Access. x x x
Upon the initial implementation of open access, the ERC shall allow all electricity end-users with a monthly
average peak demand of at least one megawatt (1MW) for the preceding twelve (12) months to be the
contestable market. xxx Subsequently and every year thereafter, the ERC shall evaluate the performance
of the market. x x x
8. SEC. 32. NPC Stranded Debt and Contract Cost Recovery. x x x
The ERC shall verify the reasonable amounts and determine the manner and duration for the full recovery
of stranded debt and stranded contract costs as defined herein x x x x
9. SEC. 34. Universal Charge. Within one (1) year from the effectivity of this Act, a universal charge to be
determined, fixed and approved by the ERC, shall be imposed on all electricity end-users x x x x
10. SEC. 35. Royalties, Returns and Tax Rates for Indigenous Energy Resources. x x x
To ensure lower rates for end-users, the ERC shall forthwith reduce the rates of power from all indigenous
sources of energy.
11. SEC. 36. Unbundling of Rates and Functions. x x x
each distribution utility shall file its revised rates for the approval by the ERC. x x x x
12. SEC. 40. Enhancement of Technical Competence. The ERC shall establish rigorous training programs for its
staff for the purpose of enhancing the technical competence of the ERC in the following areas: evaluation
of technical performance and monitoring of compliance with service and performance standards,
performance-based rate-setting reform, environmental standards and such other areas as will enable the
ERC to adequately perform its duties and functions.
13. SEC. 41. Promotion of Consumer Interests. The ERC shall handle consumer complaints and ensure the
adequate promotion of consumer interests.
14. SEC. 45. Cross Ownership, Market Power Abuse and Anti-Competitive Behavior. No participant in the
electricity industry may engage in any anti-competitive behavior including, but not limited to, cross-
subsidization, price or market manipulation, or other unfair trade practices detrimental to the
encouragement and protection of contestable markets.
x x x x
(c) x x x The ERC shall, within one (1) year from the effectivity of this Act, promulgate rules and regulations
to promote competition, encourage market development and customer choice and discourage/penalize
abuse of market power, cartelization and any anticompetitive or discriminatory behavior, in order to
further the intent of this Act and protect the public interest. Such rules and regulations shall define the
following:
(a) the relevant markets for purposes of establishing abuse or misuse of monopoly or market position;
(b) areas of isolated grids; and
(c) the periodic reportorial requirements of electric power industry participants as may be necessary to
enforce the provisions of this Section.
The ERC shall, motu proprio, monitor and penalize any market power abuse or anticompetitive or
discriminatory act or behavior by any participant in the electric power industry.
15. SEC. 51. Powers. The PSALM Corp. shall, in the performance of its functions and for the attainment of its
objective, have the following powers: x x x
(e) To liquidate the NPC stranded contract costs utilizing proceeds from sales and other property
contributed to it, including the proceeds from the universal charge;
x x x x
16. SEC. 60. Debts of Electric Cooperatives. x x x The ERC shall ensure a reduction in the rates of electric
cooperatives commensurate with the resulting savings due to the removal of the amortization payments of
their loans. x x x x
17. SEC. 62. Joint Congressional Power Commission. x x x
x x x the Power Commission is hereby empowered to require the DOE, ERC, NEA, TRANSCO, generation
companies, distribution utilities, suppliers and other electric power industry participants to submit reports
and all pertinent data and information relating to the performance of their respective functions in the
industry. xxx
x x x x
18. SEC. 65. Environmental Protection. Participants in the generation, distribution and transmission sub-sectors
of the industry shall comply with all environmental laws, rules, regulations and standards promulgated by
the Department of Environment and Natural Resources including, in appropriate cases, the establishment
of an environmental guarantee fund.

19. SEC. 67. NPC Offer of Transition Supply Contracts. Within six (6) months from the effectivity of this Act, NPC
shall file with the ERC for its approval a transition supply contract duly negotiated with the distribution
utilities containing the terms and conditions of supply and a corresponding schedule of rates, consistent
with the provisions hereof, including adjustments and/or indexation formulas which shall apply to the term
of such contracts.
x x x x
20. SEC. 69. Renegotiation of Power Purchase and Energy Conversion Agreements between Government
Entities. Within three (3) months from the effectivity of this Act, all power purchase and energy conversion
agreements between the PNOC-Energy Development Corporation (PNOC-EDC) and NPC, including but
not limited to the Palimpinon, Tongonan and Mt. Apo Geothermal complexes, shall be reviewed by the
ERC and the terms thereof amended to remove any hidden costs or extraordinary mark-ups in the cost of
power or steam above their true costs. All amended contracts shall be submitted to the Joint
Congressional Power Commission for approval. The ERC shall ensure that all savings realized from the
reduction of said mark-ups shall be passed on to all end-users.

After comparing the functions of the ERB and the ERC, we find that the ERC indeed assumed the functions of the ERB. However,
the overlap in the functions of the ERB and of the ERC does not mean that there is no valid abolition of the ERB. The ERC has new and
expanded functions which are intended to meet the specific needs of a deregulated power industry. Indeed, National Land Titles and
Deeds Registration Administration v. Civil Service Commission stated that:

[I]f the newly created office has substantially new, different or additional functions, duties or powers, so that it may
be said in fact to create an office different from the one abolished, even though it embraces all or some of the
duties of the old office it will be considered as an abolition of one office and the creation of a new or different
one. The same is true if one office is abolished and its duties, for reasons of economy are given to an existing officer
or office.
[13]



KERB argues that RA 9136 did not abolish the ERB nor did it alter its essential character as an economic regulator of the el ectric
power industry. x x x RA 9136 rather changed merely ERBs name and title to that of the ERC even as it expanded its functions and
objectives to keep pace with the times. To uphold KERBs argument regarding the invalidity of the ERBs abolition is to ignore the
developments in the history of energy regulation.

The regulation of public services started way back in 1902 with the enactment of Act No. 520 which created
the Coastwise Rate Commission. In 1906, Act No. 1507 was passed creating the Supervising Railway Expert. The
following year, Act No. 1779 was enacted creating the Board of Rate Regulation. Then, Act No 2307, which was
patterned after the Public Service Law of the State of New Jersey, was approved by the Philippine Commission in
1914, creating the Board of Public Utility Commissioners, composed of three members, which absorbed all the
functions of the Coastwise Rate Commission, the Supervising Railway Expert, and the Board of Rate Regulation.
Thereafter, several laws were enacted on public utility regulation. On November 7, 1936, Commonwealth Act
No. 146, otherwise known as the Public Service Law, was enacted by the National Assembly. The Public Service
Commission (PSC) had jurisdiction, supervision, and control over all public services, including the electric power
service.
After almost four decades, significant developments in the energy sector changed the landscape of
economic regulation in the country.
April 30, 1971 R.A. No. 6173 was passed creating the Oil Industry Commission (OIC), which was tasked to
regulate the oil industry and to ensure the adequate supply of petroleum products at reasonable prices.
September 24, 1972 then President Ferdinand E. Marcos issued Presidential Decree No. 1 which ordered
the preparation of the Integrated Reorganization Plan by the Commission on Reorganization. The Plan
abolished the PSC and transferred the regulatory and adjudicatory functions pertaining to the electricity
industry and water resources to then Board of Power and Waterworks (BOPW).
October 6, 1977 the government created the Department of Energy (DOE) and consequently abolished
the OIC, which was replaced by the creation of the Board of Energy (BOE) through Presidential Decree No.
1206. The BOE, in addition, assumed the powers and functions of the BOPW over the electric power
industry.
May 8, 1987 the BOE was reconstituted into the Energy Regulatory Board (ERB), pursuant to Executive
Order No. 172 issued by then President Corazon C. Aquino as part of her governments reorganization
program. The rationale was to consolidate and entrust into a single body all the regulatory and
adjudicatory functions pertaining to the energy sector. Thus, the power to regulate the power rates and
services of private electric utilities was transferred to the ERB.
December 28, 1992 Republic Act No. 7638 signed, where the power to fix the rates of the National
Power Corporation (NPC) and the rural electric cooperatives (RECs) was passed on to the ERB. Non-pricing
functions of the ERB with respect to the petroleum industry were transferred to the DOE, i.e., regulating the
capacities of new refineries.
February 10, 1998 enactment of Republic Act 8479: Downstream Oil Industry Deregulation Act of 1998,
which prescribed a five-month transition period, before full deregulation of the oil industry, during which ERB
would implement an automatic pricing mechanism (APM) for petroleum products every month.
June 12, 1998 the Philippine oil industry was fully deregulated, thus, ERBs focus of responsibility centered
on the electric industry.
June 8, 2001 enactment of Republic Act No. 9136, otherwise known as the Electric Power Industry
Reform Act (EPIRA) of 2001. The Act abolished the ERB and created in its place the Energy Regulatory
Commission (ERC) which is a purely independent regulatory body performing the combined quasi -judicial,
quasi-legislative and administrative functions in the electric industry.
[14]


Throughout the years, the scope of the regulation has gradually narrowed from that of public services in 1902 to the electricity
industry and water resources in 1972 to the electric power industry and oil industry in 1977 to the electric industry alone in 1998. The ERC
retains the ERBs traditional rate and service regulation functions. However, the ERC now also has to promote competitive operations
in the electricity market. RA 9136 expanded the ERCs concerns to encompass both the consumers and the utility investors.
Thus, the EPIRA provides a framework for the restructuring of the industry, including the privatization of the
assets of the National Power Corporation (NPC), the transition to a competi tive structure, and the delineation of the
roles of various government agencies and the private entities. The law ordains the division of the industry into four (4)
distinct sectors, namely: generation, transmission, distribution and supply. Corollarily, the NPC generating plants have
to privatized and its transmission business spun off and privatized thereafter.
In tandem with the restructuring of the industry is the establishment of a strong and purely independent
regulatory body. Thus, the law created the ERC in place of the Energy Regulatory Board (ERB).
To achieve its aforestated goal, the law has reconfigured the organization of the regulatory body. x x x
[15]


There is no question in our minds that, because of the expansion of the ERCs functions and concerns, there was a valid abolition
of the ERB. Thus, there is no merit toKERBs allegation that there is an impairment of the security of tenure of the ERBs employees.

WHEREFORE, we DISMISS the petition. No costs.

SO ORDERED.


ANTONIO T. CARPIO
Associate Justice


WE CONCUR:



(On official leave)
LEONARDO A. QUISUMBING
Associate Justice
Chairperson




CONCHITA CARPIO MORALES
Associate Justice
DANTE O. TINGA
Associate Justice




PRESBITERO J. VELASCO, JR.
Associate Justice



ATTESTATION

I attest that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer
of the opinion of the Courts Division.




ANTONIO T. CARPIO
Associate Justice
Acting Chairperson



CERTIFICATION


Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution, and the Division Chairpersons Attestation, I certify that the conclusions in
the above Decision had been reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Courts Division.




REYNATO S. PUNO
Chief Justice

Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
SECOND DIVISION
G.R. No. 155336 November 25, 2004
COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS EMPLOYEES' ASSOCIATION (CHREA) Represented by its President, MARCIAL A. SANCHEZ,
JR., petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS, respondent.


D E C I S I O N


CHICO-NAZARIO, J.:
Can the Commission on Human Rights lawfully implement an upgrading and reclassification of personnel positions without the prior
approval of the Department of Budget and Management?
Before this Court is a petition for review filed by petitioner Commission on Human Rights Employees' Association (CHREA) chal lenging
the Decision
1
dated 29 November 2001 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 59678 affirming the Resolutions
2
dated 16 December
1999 and 09 June 2000 of the Civil Service Commission (CSC), which sustained the validity of the upgrading and reclassification of
certain personnel positions in the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) despite the disapproval thereof by the Department of Budget
and Management (DBM). Also assailed is the resolution dated 11 September 2002 of the Court of Appeals denying the motion for
reconsideration filed by petitioner.
The antecedent facts which spawned the present controversy are as follows:
On 14 February 1998, Congress passed Republic Act No. 8522, otherwise known as the General Appropriations Act of 1998. It provided
for Special Provisions Applicable to All Constitutional Offices Enjoying Fiscal Autonomy. The last portion of Article XXXIII covers the
appropriations of the CHR. These special provisions state:
1. Organizational Structure. Any provision of law to the contrary notwithstanding and within the limits of their respective
appropriations as authorized in this Act, the Constitutional Commissions and Offices enjoying fiscal autonomy are authorized
to formulate and implement the organizational structures of their respective offices, to fix and determine the salaries,
allowances, and other benefits of their personnel, and whenever public interest so requires, make adjustments in their
personal services itemization including, but not limited to, the transfer of item or creation of new positions in their respective
offices: PROVIDED, That officers and employees whose positions are affected by such reorganization or adjustments shall be
granted retirement gratuities and separation pay in accordance with existing laws, which shall be payable from any
unexpended balance of, or savings in the appropriations of their respective offices: PROVIDED, FURTHER, That the
implementation hereof shall be in accordance with salary rates, allowances and other benefits authorized under
compensation standardization laws.
2. Use of Savings. The Constitutional Commissions and Offices enjoying fiscal autonomy are hereby authorized to use savings
in their respective appropriations for: (a) printing and/or publication of decisions, resolutions, and training information
materials; (b) repair, maintenance and improvement of central and regional offices, facilities and equipment; (c) purchase of
books, journals, periodicals and equipment; (d) necessary expenses for the employment of temporary, contractual and
casual employees; (e) payment of extraordinary and miscellaneous expenses, commutable representation and
transportation allowances, and fringe benefits for their officials and employees as may be authorized by law; and (f) other
official purposes, subject to accounting and auditing rules and regulations. (Emphases supplied)
on the strength of these special provisions, the CHR, through its then Chairperson Aurora P. Navarette-Recia and Commissioners
Nasser A. Marohomsalic, Mercedes V. Contreras, Vicente P. Sibulo, and Jorge R. Coquia, promulgated Resolution No. A98-047 on 04
September 1998, adopting an upgrading and reclassification scheme among selected positions in the Commission, to wi t:
WHEREAS, the General Appropriations Act, FY 1998, R.A. No. 8522 has provided special provisions applicable to all
Constitutional Offices enjoying Fiscal Autonomy, particularly on organizational structures and authorizes the same to formulate
and implement the organizational structures of their respective offices to fix and determine the salaries, allowances and other
benefits of their personnel and whenever public interest so requires, make adjustments in the personnel services itemization
including, but not limited to, the transfer of item or creation of new positions in their respective offices: PROVIDED, That officers
and employees whose positions are affected by such reorganization or adjustments shall be granted retirement gratuities and
separation pay in accordance with existing laws, which shall be payable from any unexpanded balance of, or savings in the
appropriations of their respective offices;
Whereas, the Commission on Human Rights is a member of the Constitutional Fiscal Autonomy Group (CFAG) and on July 24,
1998, CFAG passed an approved Joint Resolution No. 49 adopting internal rules implementing the special provisions
heretoforth mentioned;
NOW THEREFORE, the Commission by virtue of its fiscal autonomy hereby approves and authorizes the upgrading and
augmentation of the commensurate amount generated from savings under Personal Services to support the implementation
of this resolution effective Calendar Year 1998;
Let the Human Resources Development Division (HRDD) prepare the necessary Notice of Salary Adjustment and other
appropriate documents to implement this resolution; . . . .
3
(Emphasis supplied)
Annexed to said resolution is the proposed creation of ten additional plantilla positions, namely: one Director IV position, with Salary
Grade 28 for the Caraga Regional Office, four Security Officer II with Salary Grade 15, and five Process Servers, with Salary Grade 5
under the Office of the Commissioners.
4

On 19 October 1998, CHR issued Resolution No. A98-055
5
providing for the upgrading or raising of salary grades of the following
positions in the Commission:
Number of
Positions
Position
Title
Salary Grade Total Salary
Requirements
From To From To
12 Attorney VI (In
the Regional
Director IV 26 28 P229,104.00
Field Offices)
4 Director III Director IV 27 28 38,928.00
1 Financial &
Management
Officer II
Director IV 24 28 36,744.00
1 Budget Officer
III
Budget Officer IV 18 24 51,756.00
1 Accountant III Chief
Accountant
18 24 51,756.00
1 Cashier III Cashier V 18 24 51,756.00
1 Information
Officer V
Director IV 24 28 36,744.00
6

It, likewise, provided for the creation and upgrading of the following positions:
A. Creation
Number of
Positions
Position Title Salary Grade Total Salary
Requirements
4 Security Officer II
(Coterminous)
15 684,780.00
B. Upgrading
Number of
Positions
Position Title Salary Grade Total Salary
Requirements
From To From To
1 Attorney V Director IV 25 28 P28,092.00
2 Security Officer I Security Officer
II
11 15 57,456.00
----------------
Total 3 P 85,548.00
7

To support the implementation of such scheme, the CHR, in the same resolution, authorized the augmentation of a commensurate
amount generated from savings under Personnel Services.
By virtue of Resolution No. A98-062 dated 17 November 1998, the CHR "collapsed" the vacant positions in the body to provide
additional source of funding for said staffing modification. Among the positions collapsed were: one Attorney III, four Attorney IV, one
Chemist III, three Special Investigator I, one Clerk III, and one Accounting Clerk II.
8

The CHR forwarded said staffing modification and upgrading scheme to the DBM with a request for its approval, but the then DBM
secretary Benjamin Diokno denied the request on the following justification:
Based on the evaluations made the request was not favorably considered as it effectively involved the elevation of the fiel d units
from divisions to services.
The present proposal seeks further to upgrade the twelve (12) positions of Attorney VI, SG-26 to Director IV, SG-28. This would elevate
the field units to a bureau or regional office, a level even higher than the one previously denied.
The request to upgrade the three (3) positions of Director III, SG-27 to Director IV, SG-28, in the Central Office in effect would elevate
the services to Office and change the context from support to substantive without actual change in functions.
In the absence of a specific provision of law which may be used as a legal basis to elevate the level of divisions to a bureau or regional
office, and the services to offices, we reiterate our previous stand denying the upgrading of the twelve (12) positions of Attorney VI, SG-
26 to Director III, SG-27 or Director IV, SG-28, in the Field Operations Office (FOO) and three (3) Director III, SG-27 to Director IV, SG-28 in
the Central Office.
As represented, President Ramos then issued a Memorandum to the DBM Secretary dated 10 December 1997, directing the latter to
increase the number of Plantilla positions in the CHR both Central and Regional Offices to implement the Philippine Decade Plan on
Human Rights Education, the Philippine Human Rights Plan and Barangay Rights Actions Center in accordance with existing laws.
(Emphasis in the original)
Pursuant to Section 78 of the General Provisions of the General Appropriations Act (GAA) FY 1998, no organizational unit or changes in
key positions shall be authorized unless provided by law or directed by the President, thus, the creation of a Finance Management
Office and a Public Affairs Office cannot be given favorable recommendation.
Moreover, as provided under Section 2 of RA No. 6758, otherwise known as the Compensation Standardization Law, the Department of
Budget and Management is directed to establish and administer a unified compensation and position classification system in the
government. The Supreme Court ruled in the case of Victorina Cruz vs. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 119155, dated January 30, 1996, that
this Department has the sole power and discretion to administer the compensation and position classification system of the National
Government.
Being a member of the fiscal autonomy group does not vest the agency with the authority to reclassify, upgrade, and create positions
without approval of the DBM. While the members of the Group are authorized to formulate and implement the organizational
structures of their respective offices and determine the compensation of their personnel, such authority is not absolute and must be
exercised within the parameters of the Unified Position Classification and Compensation System established under RA 6758 more
popularly known as the Compensation Standardization Law. We therefore reiterate our previous stand on the matter.
9
(Emphases
supplied)
In light of the DBM's disapproval of the proposed personnel modification scheme, the CSC-National Capital Region Office, through a
memorandum dated 29 March 1999, recommended to the CSC-Central Office that the subject appointments be rejected owing to
the DBM's disapproval of the plantilla reclassification.
Meanwhile, the officers of petitioner CHREA, in representation of the rank and file employees of the CHR, requested the CSC-Central
Office to affirm the recommendation of the CSC-Regional Office. CHREA stood its ground in saying that the DBM is the only agency
with appropriate authority mandated by law to evaluate and approve matters of reclassification and upgrading, as well as creation of
positions.
The CSC-Central Office denied CHREA's request in a Resolution dated 16 December 1999, and reversed the recommendation of the
CSC-Regional Office that the upgrading scheme be censured. The decretal portion of which reads:
WHEREFORE, the request of Ronnie N. Rosero, Hubert V. Ruiz, Flordeliza A. Briones, George Q. Dumlao [and], Corazon A.
Santos-Tiu, is hereby denied.
10

CHREA filed a motion for reconsideration, but the CSC-Central Office denied the same on 09 June 2000.
Given the cacophony of judgments between the DBM and the CSC, petitioner CHREA elevated the matter to the Court of
Appeals. The Court of Appeals affirmed the pronouncement of the CSC-Central Office and upheld the validity of the
upgrading, retitling, and reclassification scheme in the CHR on the justification that such action is within the ambit of CHR's
fiscal autonomy. The fallo of the Court of Appeals decision provides:
IN VIEW OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the instant petition is ordered DISMISSED and the questioned Civil Service Commission
Resolution No. 99-2800 dated December 16, 1999 as well as No. 001354 dated June 9, 2000, are hereby AFFIRMED. No cost.
11

Unperturbed, petitioner filed this petition in this Court contending that:
A.
THE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED WHEN IT HELD THAT UNDER THE 1987 CONSTITUTION, THE COMMISSION ON HUMAN
RIGHTS ENJOYS FISCAL AUTONOMY.
B.
THE COURT OF APPEALS SERIOUSLY ERRED IN UPHOLDING THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS OF
REPUBLIC ACT NO. 8522 (THE GENERAL APPROPRIATIONS ACT FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1998) DESPITE ITS BEING IN SHARP CONFLICT
WITH THE 1987 CONSTITUTION AND THE STATUTE ITSELF.
C.
THE COURT OF APPEALS SERIOUSLY AND GRAVELY ERRED IN AFFIRMING THE VALIDITY OF THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION
RESOLUTION NOS. 992800 AND 001354 AS WELL AS THAT OF THE OPINION OF THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE IN STATING THAT THE
COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS ENJOYS FISCAL AUTONOMY UNDER THE 1987 CONSTITUTION AND THAT THIS FISCAL
AUTONOMY INCLUDES THE ACTION TAKEN BY IT IN COLLAPSING, UPGRADING AND RECLASSIFICATION OF POSITIONS THEREIN.
12

The central question we must answer in order to resolve this case is: Can the Commission on Human Rights validly implement an
upgrading, reclassification, creation, and collapsing of plantilla positions in the Commission without the prior approval of the
Department of Budget and Management?
Petitioner CHREA grouses that the Court of Appeals and the CSC-Central Office both erred in sanctioning the CHR's alleged blanket
authority to upgrade, reclassify, and create positions inasmuch as the approval of the DBM relative to such scheme is still
indispensable. Petitioner bewails that the CSC and the Court of Appeals erroneously assumed that CHR enjoys fiscal autonomy i nsofar
as financial matters are concerned, particularly with regard to the upgrading and reclassification of positions therein.
Respondent CHR sharply retorts that petitioner has no locus standi considering that there exists no official written record i n the
Commission recognizing petitioner as a bona fide organization of its employees nor is there anything in the records to show that its
president, Marcial A. Sanchez, Jr., has the authority to sue the CHR. The CHR contends that it has the authority to cause the upgrading,
reclassification, plantilla creation, and collapsing scheme sans the approval of the DBM because it enjoys fiscal autonomy.
After a thorough consideration of the arguments of both parties and an assiduous scrutiny of the records in the case at bar, it is the
Court's opinion that the present petition is imbued with merit.
On petitioner's personality to bring this suit, we held in a multitude of cases that a proper party is one who has sustained or is in
immediate danger of sustaining an injury as a result of the act complained of.
13
Here, petitioner, which consists of rank and file
employees of respondent CHR, protests that the upgrading and collapsing of positions benefited only a select few in the upper level
positions in the Commission resulting to the demoralization of the rank and file employees. This sufficiently meets the injury test. Indeed,
the CHR's upgrading scheme, if found to be valid, potentially entails eating up the Commission's savings or that portion of its budgetary
pie otherwise allocated for Personnel Services, from which the benefits of the employees, including those in the rank and file, are
derived.
Further, the personality of petitioner to file this case was recognized by the CSC when it took cognizance of the CHREA's request to
affirm the recommendation of the CSC-National Capital Region Office. CHREA's personality to bring the suit was a non-issue in the
Court of Appeals when it passed upon the merits of this case. Thus, neither should our hands be tied by this technical concern. Indeed,
it is settled jurisprudence that an issue that was neither raised in the complaint nor in the court below cannot be raised for the first time
on appeal, as to do so would be offensive to the basic rules of fair play, justice, and due process.
14

We now delve into the main issue of whether or not the approval by the DBM is a condition precedent to the enactment of an
upgrading, reclassification, creation and collapsing of plantilla positions in the CHR.
Germane to our discussion is Rep. Act No. 6758, An Act Prescribing a Revised Compensation and Position Cl assification System in the
Government and For Other Purposes, or the Salary Standardization Law, dated 01 July 1989, which provides in Sections 2 and 4 thereof
that it is the DBM that shall establish and administer a unified Compensation and Position Classification System. Thus:
SEC. 2. Statement of Policy. -- It is hereby declared the policy of the State to provide equal pay for substantially equal work
and to base differences in pay upon substantive differences in duties and responsibilities, and qualification requirements of
the positions. In determining rates of pay, due regard shall be given to, among others, prevailing rates in the private sector for
comparable work. For this purpose, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) is hereby directed to establish and
administer a unified Compensation and Position Classification System, hereinafter referred to as the System as provided for i n
Presidential Decree No. 985, as amended, that shall be applied for all government entities, as mandated by the Constitution.
(Emphasis supplied.)
SEC. 4. Coverage. The Compensation and Position Classification System herein provided shall apply to all positions,
appointive or elective, on full or part-time basis, now existing or hereafter created in the government, including government-
owned or controlled corporations and government financial institutions.
The term "government" refers to the Executive, the Legislative and the Judicial Branches and the Constitutional Commissions and shall
include all, but shall not be limited to, departments, bureaus, offices, boards, commissions, courts, tribunals, councils, authorities,
administrations, centers, institutes, state colleges and universities, local government units, and the armed forces. The term "government-
owned or controlled corporations and financial institutions" shall include all corporations and financial institutions owned or controlled
by the National Government, whether such corporations and financial institutions perform governmental or proprietary functions.
(Emphasis supplied.)
The disputation of the Court of Appeals that the CHR is exempt from the long arm of the Salary Standardization Law is flawed
considering that the coverage thereof, as defined above, encompasses the entire gamut of government offices, sans qualification.
This power to "administer" is not purely ministerial in character as erroneously held by the Court of Appeals. The word to administer
means to control or regulate in behalf of others; to direct or superintend the execution, application or conduct of; and to manage or
conduct public affairs, as to administer the government of the state.
15

The regulatory power of the DBM on matters of compensation is encrypted not only in law, but in jurisprudence as well. In the recent
case of Philippine Retirement Authority (PRA) v. Jesusito L. Buag,
16
this Court, speaking through Mr. Justice Reynato Puno, ruled that
compensation, allowances, and other benefits received by PRA officials and employees without the requisite approval or authority of
the DBM are unauthorized and irregular. In the words of the Court
Despite the power granted to the Board of Directors of PRA to establish and fix a compensation and benefits scheme for its employees,
the same is subject to the review of the Department of Budget and Management. However, in view of the express powers granted to
PRA under its charter, the extent of the review authority of the Department of Budget and Management is limited. As stated in Intia, the
task of the Department of Budget and Management is simply to review the compensation and benefits plan of the government
agency or entity concerned and determine if the same complies with the prescribed policies and guidelines issued in this regard. The
role of the Department of Budget and Management is supervisorial in nature, its main duty being to ascertain that the proposed
compensation, benefits and other incentives to be given to PRA officials and employees adhere to the policies and guidelines issued in
accordance with applicable laws.
In Victorina Cruz v. Court of Appeals,
17
we held that the DBM has the sole power and discretion to administer the compensation and
position classification system of the national government.
In Intia, Jr. v. Commission on Audit,
18
the Court held that although the charter
19
of the Philippine Postal Corporation (PPC) grants it the
power to fix the compensation and benefits of its employees and exempts PPC from the coverage of the rules and regulations of the
Compensation and Position Classification Office, by virtue of Section 6 of P.D. No. 1597, the compensation system established by the
PPC is, nonetheless, subject to the review of the DBM. This Court intoned:
It should be emphasized that the review by the DBM of any PPC resolution affecting the compensation structure of its personnel should
not be interpreted to mean that the DBM can dictate upon the PPC Board of Directors and deprive the latter of its discretion on the
matter. Rather, the DBM's function is merely to ensure that the action taken by the Board of Directors complies with the requirements of
the law, specifically, that PPC's compensation system "conforms as closely as possible with that provided for under R.A. No. 6758."
(Emphasis supplied.)
As measured by the foregoing legal and jurisprudential yardsticks, the imprimatur of the DBM must first be sought prior to
implementation of any reclassification or upgrading of positions in government. This is consonant to the mandate of the DBM under the
Revised Administrative Code of 1987, Section 3, Chapter 1, Title XVII, to wit:
SEC. 3. Powers and Functions. The Department of Budget and Management shall assist the President in the preparation of a
national resources and expenditures budget, preparation, execution and control of the National Budget, preparation and
maintenance of accounting systems essential to the budgetary process, achievement of more economy and efficiency in
the management of government operations, administration of compensation and position classification systems, assessment
of organizational effectiveness and review and evaluation of legislative proposals having budgetary or organizational
implications. (Emphasis supplied.)
Irrefragably, it is within the turf of the DBM Secretary to disallow the upgrading, reclassification, and creation of additional plantilla
positions in the CHR based on its finding that such scheme lacks legal justification.
Notably, the CHR itself recognizes the authority of the DBM to deny or approve the proposed reclassification of positions as evidenced
by its three letters to the DBM requesting approval thereof. As such, it is now estopped from now claiming that the nod of approval it
has previously sought from the DBM is a superfluity.
The Court of Appeals incorrectly relied on the pronouncement of the CSC-Central Office that the CHR is a constitutional commission,
and as such enjoys fiscal autonomy.
20

Palpably, the Court of Appeals' Decision was based on the mistaken premise that the CHR belongs to the species of constitutional
commissions. But, Article IX of the Constitution states in no uncertain terms that only the CSC, the Commission on Elections, and the
Commission on Audit shall be tagged as Constitutional Commissions with the appurtenant right to fiscal autonomy. Thus:
Sec. 1. The Constitutional Commissions, which shall be independent, are the Civil Service Commission, the Commission on
Elections, and the Commission on Audit.
Sec. 5. The Commission shall enjoy fiscal autonomy. Their approved annual appropriations shall be automatically and
regularly released.
Along the same vein, the Administrative Code, in Chapter 5, Sections 24 and 26 of Book II on Distribution of Powers of Government, the
constitutional commissions shall include only the Civil Service Commission, the Commission on Elections, and the Commission on Audit,
which are granted independence and fiscal autonomy. In contrast, Chapter 5, Section 29 thereof, is silent on the grant of similar
powers to the other bodies including the CHR. Thus:
SEC. 24. Constitutional Commissions. The Constitutional Commissions, which shall be independent, are the Civil Service
Commission, the Commission on Elections, and the Commission on Audit.
SEC. 26. Fiscal Autonomy. The Constitutional Commissions shall enjoy fiscal autonomy. The approved annual appropriations
shall be automatically and regularly released.
SEC. 29. Other Bodies. There shall be in accordance with the Constitution, an Office of the Ombudsman, a Commission on
Human Rights, and independent central monetary authority, and a national police commission. Likewise, as provided in the
Constitution, Congress may establish an independent economic and planning agency. (Emphasis ours.)
From the 1987 Constitution and the Administrative Code, it is abundantly clear that the CHR is not among the class of Constitutional
Commissions. As expressed in the oft-repeated maxim expressio unius est exclusio alterius, the express mention of one person, thing, act
or consequence excludes all others. Stated otherwise, expressium facit cessare tacitum what is expressed puts an end to what is
implied.
21

Nor is there any legal basis to support the contention that the CHR enjoys fiscal autonomy. In essence, fiscal autonomy entails freedom
from outside control and limitations, other than those provided by law. It is the freedom to allocate and utilize funds granted by law, in
accordance with law, and pursuant to the wisdom and dispatch its needs may require from time to time.
22
In Blaquera v. Alcala and
Bengzon v. Drilon,
23
it is understood that it is only the Judiciary, the Civil Service Commission, the Commission on Audit, the Commission
on Elections, and the Office of the Ombudsman, which enjoy fiscal autonomy. Thus, in Bengzon,
24
we explained:
As envisioned in the Constitution, the fiscal autonomy enjoyed by the Judiciary, the Civil Service Commission, the Commission
on Audit, the Commission on Elections, and the Office of the Ombudsman contemplates a guarantee of full flexibility to
allocate and utilize their resources with the wisdom and dispatch that their needs require. It recognizes the power and
authority to levy, assess and collect fees, fix rates of compensation not exceeding the highest rates authorized by law for
compensation and pay plans of the government and allocate and disburse such sums as may be provided by law or
prescribed by them in the course of the discharge of their functions.
. . .
The Judiciary, the Constitutional Commissions, and the Ombudsman must have the independence and flexibility needed in
the discharge of their constitutional duties. The imposition of restrictions and constraints on the manner the independent
constitutional offices allocate and utilize the funds appropriated for their operations is anathema to fiscal autonomy and
violative not only of the express mandate of the Constitution but especially as regards the Supreme Court, of the
independence and separation of powers upon which the entire fabric of our constitutional system is based. In the interest of
comity and cooperation, the Supreme Court, [the] Constitutional Commissions, and the Ombudsman have so far limited their
objections to constant reminders. We now agree with the petitioners that this grant of autonomy should cease to be a
meaningless provision. (Emphasis supplied.)
Neither does the fact that the CHR was admitted as a member by the Constitutional Fiscal Autonomy Group (CFAG) ipso facto
clothed it with fiscal autonomy. Fiscal autonomy is a constitutional grant, not a tag obtainable by membership.
We note with interest that the special provision under Rep. Act No. 8522, while cited under the heading of the CHR, did not specifically
mention CHR as among those offices to which the special provision to formulate and implement organizational structures apply, but
merely states its coverage to include Constitutional Commissions and Offices enjoying fiscal autonomy. In contrast, the Special
Provision Applicable to the Judiciary under Article XXVIII of the General Appropriations Act of 1998 specifically mentions that such
special provision applies to the judiciary and had categorically authorized the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court to formulate and
implement the organizational structure of the Judiciary, to wit:
1. Organizational Structure. Any provision of law to the contrary notwithstanding and within the limits of their respective
appropriations authorized in this Act, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court is authorized to formulate and implement
organizational structure of the Judiciary, to fix and determine the salaries, allowances, and other benefits of their personnel,
and whenever public interest so requires, make adjustments in the personal services itemization including, but not limited to,
the transfer of item or creation of new positions in the Judiciary; PROVIDED, That officers and employees whose positions are
affected by such reorganization or adjustments shall be granted retirement gratuities and separation pay in accordance with
existing law, which shall be payable from any unexpended balance of, or savings in the appropriations of their respective
offices: PROVIDED, FURTHER, That the implementation hereof shall be in accordance with salary rates, allowances and other
benefits authorized under compensation standardization laws. (Emphasis supplied.)
All told, the CHR, although admittedly a constitutional creation is, nonetheless, not included in the genus of offices accorded fiscal
autonomy by constitutional or legislative fiat.
Even assuming en arguendo that the CHR enjoys fiscal autonomy, we share the stance of the DBM that the grant of fiscal autonomy
notwithstanding, all government offices must, all the same, kowtow to the Salary Standardization Law. We are of the same mind with
the DBM on its standpoint, thus-
Being a member of the fiscal autonomy group does not vest the agency with the authority to reclassify, upgrade, and create positions
without approval of the DBM. While the members of the Group are authorized to formulate and implement the organizational
structures of their respective offices and determine the compensation of their personnel, such authority is not absolute and must be
exercised within the parameters of the Unified Position Classification and Compensation System established under RA 6758 more
popularly known as the Compensation Standardization Law.
25
(Emphasis supplied.)
The most lucid argument against the stand of respondent, however, is the provision of Rep. Act No. 8522 "that the implementation
hereof shall be in accordance with salary rates, allowances and other benefits authorized under compensation standardization laws."
26

Indeed, the law upon which respondent heavily anchors its case upon has expressly provided that any form of adjustment in the
organizational structure must be within the parameters of the Salary Standardization Law.
The Salary Standardization Law has gained impetus in addressing one of the basic causes of discontent of many civil servants.
27
For this
purpose, Congress has delegated to the DBM the power to administer the Salary Standardization Law and to ensure that the spirit
behind it is observed. This power is part of the system of checks and balances or system of restraints in our government. The DBM's
exercise of such authority is not in itself an arrogation inasmuch as it is pursuant to the paramount law of the land, the Salary
Standardization Law and the Administrative Code.
In line with its role to breathe life into the policy behind the Salary Standardization Law of "providing equal pay for substantially equal
work and to base differences in pay upon substantive differences in duties and responsibilities, and qualification requirements of the
positions," the DBM, in the case under review, made a determination, after a thorough evaluation, that the reclassification and
upgrading scheme proposed by the CHR lacks legal rationalization.
The DBM expounded that Section 78 of the general provisions of the General Appropriations Act FY 1998, which the CHR heavily relies
upon to justify its reclassification scheme, explicitly provides that "no organizational unit or changes in key positions shall be authorized
unless provided by law or directed by the President." Here, the DBM discerned that there is no law authorizing the creation of a Finance
Management Office and a Public Affairs Office in the CHR. Anent CHR's proposal to upgrade twelve positions of Attorney VI, SG-26 to
Director IV, SG-28, and four positions of Director III, SG-27 to Director IV, SG-28, in the Central Office, the DBM denied the same as this
would change the context from support to substantive without actual change in functions.
This view of the DBM, as the law's designated body to implement and administer a unified compensation system, is beyond cavil. The
interpretation of an administrative government agency, which is tasked to implement a statute is accorded great respect and
ordinarily controls the construction of the courts. In Energy Regulatory Board v. Court of Appeals,
28
we echoed the basic rule that the
courts will not interfere in matters which are addressed to the sound discretion of government agencies entrusted with the regulation of
activities coming under the special technical knowledge and training of such agencies.
To be sure, considering his expertise on matters affecting the nation's coffers, the Secretary of the DBM, as the President's alter ego,
knows from where he speaks inasmuch as he has the front seat view of the adverse effects of an unwarranted upgrading or creation of
positions in the CHR in particular and in the entire government in general.
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED, the Decision dated 29 November 2001 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 59678 and its
Resolution dated 11 September 2002 are hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The ruling dated 29 March 1999 of the Civil Service
Commision-National Capital Region is REINSTATED. The Commission on Human Rights Resolution No. A98-047 dated 04 September 1998,
Resolution No. A98-055 dated 19 October 1998 and Resolution No. A98-062 dated 17 November 1998 without the approval of the
Department of Budget and Management are disallowed. No pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.
Puno, Acting C.J., Austria-Martinez, Callejo, Sr., and Tinga, JJ., concur.

FIRST DIVISION
[G.R. No. 152845. August 5, 2003]
DRIANITA BAGAOISAN, FELY MADRIAGA, SHIRLY TAGABAN, RICARDO SARANDI, SUSAN IMPERIAL, BENJAMIN DEMDEM, RODOLFO DAGA,
EDGARDO BACLIG, GREGORIO LABAYAN, HILARIO JEREZ, and MARIA CORAZON CUANANG, petitioners, vs. NATIONAL
TOBACCO ADMINISTRATION, represented by ANTONIO DE GUZMAN and PERLITA BAULA, respondents.
D E C I S I O N
VITUG, J.:
President Joseph Estrada issued on 30 September 1998 Executive Order No. 29, entitled Mandating the Streamlining of the
National Tobacco Administration (NTA), a government agency under the Department of Agriculture. The order was followed by
another issuance, on 27 October 1998, by President Estrada of Executive Order No. 36, amending Executive Order No. 29, insofar as the
new staffing pattern was concerned, by increasing from four hundred (400) to not exceeding seven hundred fifty (750) the positions
affected thereby. In compliance therewith, the NTA prepared and adopted a new Organization Structure and Staffing Pattern (OSSP)
which, on 29 October 1998, was submitted to the Office of the President.
On 11 November 1998, the rank and file employees of NTA Batac, among whom included herein petitioners, filed a letter-appeal
with the Civil Service Commission and sought its assistance in recalling the OSSP. On 04 December 1998, the OSSP was approved by
the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) subject to certain revisions. On even date, the NTA created a placement
committee to assist the appointing authority in the selection and placement of permanent personnel in the revised OSSP. The results of
the evaluation by the committee on the individual qualifications of applicants to the positions in the new OSSP were then disseminated
and posted at the central and provincial offices of the NTA.
On 10 June 1996, petitioners, all occupying different positions at the NTA office in Batac, Ilocos Norte, received individual notices
of termination of their employment with the NTA effective thirty (30) days from receipt thereof. Finding themselves without any
immediate relief from their dismissal from the service, petitioners filed a petition for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus,with prayer for
preliminary mandatory injunction and/or temporary restraining order, with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Batac, Ilocos Norte, and
prayed -
1) that a restraining order be immediately issued enjoining the respondents from enforcing the notice of termination addressed
individually to the petitioners and/or from committing further acts of dispossession and/or ousting the petitioners from their respective
offices;
2) that a writ of preliminary injunction be issued against the respondents, commanding them to maintain the status quo to protect
the rights of the petitioners pending the determination of the validity of the implementation of their dismissal from the service; and
3) that, after trial on the merits, judgment be rendered declaring the notice of termination of the petitioners illegal and the
reorganization null and void and ordering their reinstatement with backwages, if applicable, commanding the respondents to desist
from further terminating their services, and making the injunction permanent.
[1]

The RTC, on 09 September 2000, ordered the NTA to appoint petitioners in the new OSSP to positions similar or comparable to their
respective former assignments. A motion for reconsideration filed by the NTA was denied by the trial court in its order of 28 February
2001. Thereupon, the NTA filed an appeal with the Court of Appeals, raising the following issues:
I. Whether or not respondents submitted evidence as proof that petitioners, individually, were not the best qualified
and most deserving among the incumbent applicant-employees.
II. Whether or not incumbent permanent employees, including herein petitioners, automatically enjoy a preferential
right and the right of first refusal to appointments/reappointments in the new Organization Structure And Staffing
Pattern (OSSP) of respondent NTA.
III. Whether or not respondent NTA in implementing the mandated reorganization pursuant to E.O. No. 29, as amended
by E.O. No. 36, strictly adhere to the implementing rules on reorganization, particularly RA 6656 and of the Civil
Service Commission Rules on Government Reorganization.
IV. Whether or not the validity of E.O. Nos. 29 and 36 can be put in issue in the instant case/appeal.
[2]

On 20 February 2002, the appellate court rendered a decision reversing and setting aside the assailed orders of the trial court.
Petitioners went to this Court to assail the decision of the Court of Appeals, contending that -
I. The Court of Appeals erred in making a finding that went beyond the issues of the case and which are contrary to
those of the trial court and that it overlooked certain relevant facts not disputed by the parties and which, if properly
considered, would justify a different conclusion;
II. The Court of Appeals erred in upholding Executive Order Nos. 29 and 36 of the Office of the President which are mere
administrative issuances which do not have the force and effect of a law to warrant abolition of positions and/or
effecting total reorganization;
III. The Court of Appeals erred in holding that petitioners removal from the service is in accordance with law;
IV. The Court of Appeals erred in holding that respondent NTA was not guilty of bad faith in the termination of the services
of petitioners; (and)
V. The Court of Appeals erred in ignoring case law/jurisprudence in the abolition of an office.
[3]

In its resolution of 10 July 2002, the Court required the NTA to file its comment on the petition. On 18 November 2002, after the NTA had
filed its comment of 23 September 2002, the Court issued its resolution denying the petition for failure of petitioners to sufficiently show
any reversible error on the part of the appellate court in its challenged decision so as to warrant the exercise by this Court of its
discretionary appellate jurisdiction. A motion for reconsideration filed by petitioners was denied in the Courts resolution of 20 January
2002.
On 21 February 2003, petitioners submitted a Motion to Admit Petition For En Banc Resolution of the case allegedly to address a
basic question, i.e., the legal and constitutional issue on whether the NTA may be reorganized by an executive fiat, not by legislative
action.
[4]
In their Petition for an En Banc Resolution petitioners would have it that -
1. The Court of Appeals decision upholding the reorganization of the National Tobacco Administration sets a dangerous precedent
in that:
a) A mere Executive Order issued by the Office of the President and procured by a government functionary would have the
effect of a blanket authority to reorganize a bureau, office or agency attached to the various executive departments;
b) The President of the Philippines would have the plenary power to reorganize the entire government Bureaucracy through the
issuance of an Executive Order, an administrative issuance without the benefit of due deliberation, debate and discussion of members
of both chambers of the Congress of the Philippines;
c) The right to security of tenure to a career position created by law or statute would be defeated by the mere adoption of an
Organizational Structure and Staffing Pattern issued pursuant to an Executive Order which is not a law and could thus not abolish an
office created by law;
2. The case law on abolition of an office would be disregarded, ignored and abandoned if the Court of Appeals decision subject
matter of this Petition would remain undisturbed and untouched. In other words, previous doctrines and precedents of this Highest
Court would in effect be reversed and/or modified with the Court of Appeals judgment, should it remain unchallenged.
3. Section 4 of Executive Order No. 245 dated July 24, 1987 (Annex D, Petition), issued by the Revolutionary government of former
President Corazon Aquino, and the law creating NTA, which provides that the governing body of NTA is the Board of Directors, would
be rendered meaningless, ineffective and a dead letter law because the challenged NTA reorganization which was erroneously
upheld by the Court of Appeals was adopted and implemented by then NTA Administrator Antonio de Guzman without the
corresponding authority from the Board of Directors as mandated therein. In brief, the reorganization is an ultra vires act of the NTA
Administrator.
4. The challenged Executive Order No. 29 issued by former President Joseph Estrada but unsigned by then Executive Secretary
Ronaldo Zamora would in effect be erroneously upheld and given legal effect as to supersede, amend and/or modify Executive Order
No. 245, a law issued during the Freedom Constitution of President Corazon Aquino. In brief, a mere executive order would amend,
supersede and/or render ineffective a law or statute.
[5]

In order to allow the parties a full opportunity to ventilate their views on the matter, the Court ultimately resolved to hear the
parties in oral argument. Essentially, the core question raised by them is whether or not the President, through the issuance of an
executive order, can validly carry out the reorganization of the NTA.
Notwithstanding the apparent procedural lapse on the part of petitioner to implead the Office of the President as party
respondent pursuant to Section 7, Rule 3, of the 1997 Revised Rules of Civil Procedure,
[6]
this Court resolved to rule on the merits of the
petition.
Buklod ng Kawaning EIIB vs. Zamora
[7]
ruled that the President, based on existing laws, had the authority to carry out a
reorganization in any branch or agency of the executive department. In said case, Buklod ng Kawaning EIIB challenged the issuance,
and sought the nullification, of Executive Order No. 191 (Deactivation of the Economic Intelligence and Investigation Bureau) and
Executive Order No. 223 (Supplementary Executive Order No. 191 on the Deactivation of the Economic Intelligence and Investigation
Bureau and for Other Matters) on the ground that they were issued by the President with grave abuse of discretion and in viol ation of
their constitutional right to security of tenure. The Court explained:
The general rule has always been that the power to abolish a public office is lodged with the legislature. This proceeds from the legal
precept that the power to create includes the power to destroy. A public office is either created by the Constitution, by statute, or by
authority of law. Thus, except where the office was created by the Constitution itself, it may be abolished by the same legislature that
brought it into existence.
The exception, however, is that as far as bureaus, agencies or offices in the executive department are concerned, the Presidents
power of control may justify him to inactivate the functions of a particular office, or certain laws may grant him the broad authority to
carry out reorganization measures. The case in point is Larin v. Executive Secretary [280 SCRA 713]. In this case, it was argued that
there is no law which empowers the President to reorganize the BIR. In decreeing otherwise, this Court sustained the following legal
basis, thus:
`Initially, it is argued that there is no law yet which empowers the President to issue E.O. No. 132 or to reorganize the BIR.
`We do not agree.
`x x x x x x
`Section 48 of R.A. 7645 provides that:
``Sec. 48. Scaling Down and Phase Out of Activities of Agencies Within the Executive Branch. The heads of departments, bureaus
and offices and agencies are hereby directed to identify their respective activities which are no longer essential in the delivery of
public services and which may be scaled down, phased out or abolished, subject to civil service rules and regulations. x x x. Actual
scaling down, phasing out or abolition of the activities shall be effected pursuant to Circulars or Orders issued for the purpose by the
Office of the President.
`Said provision clearly mentions the acts of `scaling down, phasing out and abolition of offices only and does not cover the creation of
offices or transfer of functions. Nevertheless, the act of creating and decentralizing is included in the subsequent provision of Section
62 which provides that:
``Sec. 62. Unauthorized organizational changes. Unless otherwise created by law or directed by the President of the Philippines, no
organizational unit or changes in key positions in any department or agency shall be authorized in their respective organization
structures and be funded from appropriations by this Act.
`The foregoing provision evidently shows that the President is authorized to effect organizational changes including the creation of
offices in the department or agency concerned.
`x x x x x x
`Another legal basis of E.O. No. 132 is Section 20, Book III of E.O. No. 292 which states:
``Sec. 20. Residual Powers. Unless Congress provides otherwise, the President shall exercise such other powers and functions vested in
the President which are provided for under the laws and which are not specifically enumerated above or which are not delegated by
the President in accordance with law.
`This provision speaks of such other powers vested in the President under the law. What law then gives him the power to reorganize? It
is Presidential Decree No. 1772 which amended Presidential Decree No. 1416. These decrees expressly grant the President of the
Philippines the continuing authority to reorganize the national government, which includes the power to group, consolidate bureaus
and agencies, to abolish offices, to transfer functions, to create and classify functions, services and activities and to standardize salaries
and materials. The validity of these two decrees are unquestionable. The 1987 Constitution clearly provides that `all laws, decrees,
executive orders, proclamations, letter of instructions and other executive issuances not inconsistent with this Constitution shall remain
operative until amended, repealed or revoked. So far, there is yet no law amending or repealing said decrees.
Now, let us take a look at the assailed executive order.
In the whereas clause of E.O. No. 191, former President Estrada anchored his authority to deactivate EIIB on Section 77 of Republic Act
8745 (FY 1999 General Appropriations Act), a provision similar to Section 62 of R.A. 7645 quoted in Larin, thus:
`Sec. 77. Organized Changes. Unless otherwise provided by law or directed by the President of the Philippines, no changes in key
positions or organizational units in any department or agency shall be authorized in their respective organizational structures and
funded from appropriations provided by this Act.
We adhere to the x x x ruling in Larin that this provision recognizes the authority of the President to effect organizational changes in the
department or agency under the executive structure. Such a ruling further finds support in Section 78 of Republic Act No. 8760. Under
this law, the heads of departments, bureaus, offices and agencies and other entities in the Executive Branch are directed (a) to
conduct a comprehensive review of this respective mandates, missions, objectives, functions, programs, projects, activities and systems
and procedures; (b) identify activities which are no longer essential in the delivery of public services and which may be scaled down,
phased-out or abolished; and (c) adopt measures that will result in the streamlined organization and improved overall performance of
their respective agencies. Section 78 ends up with the mandate that the actual streamlining and productivity improvement in agency
organization and operation shall be effected pursuant to Circulars or Orders issued for the purpose by the Office of the President. The
law has spoken clearly. We are left only with the duty to sustain.
But of course, the list of legal basis authorizing the President to reorganize any department or agency in the executive branch does
not have to end here. We must not lose sight of the very source of the power that which constitutes an express grant of
power. Under Section 31, Book III of Executive Order No. 292 (otherwise known as the Administrative Code of 1987), the President,
subject to the policy in the Executive Office and in order to achieve simplicity, economy and efficiency, shall have the continuing
authority to reorganize the administrative structure of the Office of the President. For this purpose, he may transfer the functions of
other Departments or Agencies to the Office of the President. In Canonizado vs. Aguirre [323 SCRA 312], we ruled that reorganization
involves the reduction of personnel, consolidation of offices, or abolition thereof by reason of economy or redundancy of functions. It
takes place when there is an alteration of the existing structure of government offices or units therein, including the lines of control,
authority and responsibility between them. The EIIB is a bureau attached to the Department of Finance. It falls under the Office of the
President. Hence, it is subject to the Presidents continuing authority to reorganize.
It having been duly established that the President has the authority to carry out reorganization in any branch or agency of the
executive department, what is then left for us to resolve is whether or not the reorganization is valid. In this jurisdiction, reorganizations
have been regarded as valid provided they are pursued in good faith. Reorganization is carried out in `good faith if it is for the
purpose of economy or to make bureaucracy more efficient. Pertinently, Republic Act No. 6656 provides for the circumstances which
may be considered as evidence of bad faith in the removal of civil service employees made as a result of reorganization, to
wit: (a) where there is a significant increase in the number of positions in the new staffing pattern of the department or agency
concerned; (b) where an office is abolished and another performing substantially the same functions is created;(c) where incumbents
are replaced by those less qualified in terms of status of appointment, performance and merit; (d) where there is a classification of
offices in the department or agency concerned and the reclassified offices perform substantially the same functions as the original
offices, and (e) where the removal violates the order of separation.
[8]

The Court of Appeals, in its now assailed decision, has found no evidence of bad faith on the part of the NTA; thus -
In the case at bar, we find no evidence that the respondents committed bad faith in issuing the notices of non-appointment to the
petitioners.
Firstly, the number of positions in the new staffing pattern did not increase. Rather, it decreased from 1,125 positions to 750. It is thus
natural that ones position may be lost through the removal or abolition of an office.
Secondly, the petitioners failed to specifically show which offices were abolished and the new ones that were created performing
substantially the same functions.
Thirdly, the petitioners likewise failed to prove that less qualified employees were appointed to the positions to which they applied.
x x x x x x x x x.
Fourthly, the preference stated in Section 4 of R.A. 6656, only means that old employees should be considered first, but it does not
necessarily follow that they should then automatically be appointed. This is because the law does not preclude the infusion of new
blood, younger dynamism, or necessary talents into the government service, provided that the acts of the appointing power are
bonafide for the best interest of the public service and the person chosen has the needed qualifications.
[9]

These findings of the appellate court are basically factual which this Court must respect and be held bound.
It is important to emphasize that the questioned Executive Orders No. 29 and No. 36 have not abolished the National Tobacco
Administration but merely mandated its reorganization through the streamlining or reduction of its personnel. Article VII, Section
17,
[10]
of the Constitution, expressly grants the President control of all executive departments, bureaus, agencies and offices which may
justify an executive action to inactivate the functions of a particular office or to carry out reorganization measures under a broad
authority of law.
[11]
Section 78 of the General Provisions of Republic Act No. 8522 (General Appropriations Act of FY 1998) has decreed
that the President may direct changes in the organization and key positions in any department, bureau or agency pursuant to Article
VI, Section 25,
[12]
of the Constitution, which grants to the Executive Department the authority to recommend the budget necessary for
its operation. Evidently, this grant of power includes the authority to evaluate each and every government agency, including the
determination of the most economical and efficient staffing pattern, under the Executive Department.
In the recent case of Rosa Ligaya C. Domingo, et al. vs. Hon. Ronaldo D. Zamora, in his capacity as the Executive Secretary, et
al.,
[13]
this Court has had occasion to also delve on the Presidents power to reorganize the Office of the President under Section 31(2)
and (3) of Executive Order No. 292 and the power to reorganize the Office of the President Proper. The Court has there observed:
x x x. Under Section 31(1) of EO 292, the President can reorganize the Office of the President Proper by abolishing, consolidating or
merging units, or by transferring functions from one unit to another. In contrast, under Section 31(2) and (3) of EO 292, the Presidents
power to reorganize offices outside the Office of the President Proper but still within the Office of the President is limited to merely
transferring functions or agencies from the Office of the President to Departments or Agencies, and vice versa.
The provisions of Section 31, Book III, Chapter 10, of Executive Order No. 292 (Administrative Code of 1987), above-referred to, reads
thusly:
SEC. 31. Continuing Authority of the President to Reorganize his Office. The President, subject to the policy in the Executive Office
and in order to achieve simplicity, economy and efficiency, shall have continuing authority to reorganize the administrative structure of
the Office of the President. For this purpose, he may take any of the following actions:
(1) Restructure the internal organization of the Office of the President Proper, including the immediate Offices, the Presidential
Special Assistants/Advisers System and the Common Staff Support System, by abolishing, consolidating or merging units thereof or
transferring functions from one unit to another;
(2) Transfer any function under the Office of the President to any other Department or Agency as well as transfer functions to the
Office of the President from other Departments and Agencies; and
(3) Transfer any agency under the Office of the President to any other department or agency as well as transfer agencies to the
Office of the President from other departments and agencies.
The first sentence of the law is an express grant to the President of a continuing authority to reorganize the administrative structure of
the Office of the President. The succeeding numbered paragraphs are not in the nature of provisos that unduly limit the aim and scope
of the grant to the President of the power to reorganize but are to be viewed in consonance therewith. Section 31(1) of Executive
Order No. 292 specifically refers to the Presidents power to restructure the internal organization of the Office of the President Proper,
by abolishing, consolidating or merging units hereof or transferring functions from one unit to another, while Section 31(2) and (3)
concern executive offices outside the Office of the President Proper allowing the President to transfer any function under the Office of
the President to any other Department or Agency and vice-versa, and the transfer of any agency under the Office of the President to
any other department or agency and vice-versa.
[14]

In the present instance, involving neither an abolition nor transfer of offices, the assailed action is a mere reorganization under the
general provisions of the law consisting mainly ofstreamlining the NTA in the interest of simplicity, economy and efficiency. It is an act
well within the authority of President motivated and carried out, according to the findings of the appellate court, in good fai th, a
factual assessment that this Court could only but accept.
[15]

In passing, relative to petitioners Motion for an En Banc Resolution of the Case, it may be well to remind counsel, that the
Court En Banc is not an appellate tribunal to which appeals from a Division of the Court may be taken. A Division of the Court is the
Supreme Court as fully and veritably as the Court En Banc itself and a decision of its Division is as authoritative and final as a decision of
the Court En Banc. Referrals of cases from a Division to the Court En Banc do not take place as just a matter of routine but only on
such specified grounds as the Court in its discretion may allow.
[16]

WHEREFORE, the Motion to Admit Petition for En Banc resolution and the Petition for an En Banc Resolution are DENIED for lack of
merit. Let entry of judgment be made in due course. No costs.
SO ORDERED.

Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
THIRD DIVISION
G.R. No. 179492 June 5, 2013
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, represented by ABUSAMA M. ALID, Officer-in-Charge, DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE - REGIONAL FIELD
UNIT XII (DA-RFU XII), Petitioner,
vs.
ABDULWAHAB A. BAYAO, OSMEA I. MONTAER, RAKMA B. BUISAN, HELEN M. ALVAREZ, NEILA P. LIMBA, ELIZABETH B. PUSTA, ANNA MAE
A. SIDENO, UDTOG B. TABONG, JOHN S. KAMENZA, DELIA R. SUBALDO, DAYANG W. MACMOD, FLORENCE S. TAYUAN, in their own behalf
and in behalf of the other officials and employees of DA-RFU XII, Respondents.
D E C I S I O N
LEONEN, J.:
Before us is a Petition for Review on Certiorari filed under Rule 45. This Petition prays for the reversal and setting aside of the Court of
Appeals (1) Resolution dated March 21, 2007 that dismissed the Petition for Certiorari under Rule 65 filed by petitioner for failure to
resort to a Motion for Reconsideration of the assailed trial court Order dated October 9, 2006 and (2) Resolution dated August 16, 2007
denying petitioners Motion for Reconsideration.
Petitioner Department of AgricultureRegional Field Unit XII (DARFU XII) is a government office mandated to implement the laws,
policies, plans, programs, rules, and regulations of the Department of Agriculture in its regional area, while respondents are officials and
employees of DA-RFU XII.
1

On March 30, 2004, Executive Order (E.O.) No. 304 was passed designating Koronadal City as the regional center and seat of
SOCCSKSARGEN Region.
2
It provides that all departments, bureaus, and offices of the national government in the SOCCSKSARGEN
Region shall transfer their regional seat of operations to Koronadal City.
3

In an April 1, 2005 Memorandum, the Department of Agriculture (DA) Undersecretary for Operations Edmund J. Sana directed Officer-
inCharge (OIC) and Regional Executive Director of DA-RFU XII Abusama M. Alid as follows:
In compliance with Executive Order No. 304 of which Section 2 states "Transfer of Regional Offices. All departments, bureaus and
offices of the National Government on the SOCCSKSARGEN Region shall transfer their regional seat of operations to Koronadal City,"
you are hereby directed to immediately effect the transfer of the administrative, finance and operations base of RFU XII from Cotabato
City to Koronadal City. On the interim, part of the staff can temporarily hold office at either or both the ATI building in Tantangan and
Tupi Seed Farm, but the main office shall be within Koronadal City.
The action plan for transfer should be submitted to my office not later than 6 April 2005 so that appropriate funding can be processed
soonest. Further, execution of the plan should commence by 16 April 2005 or earlier so that concerned personnel can benefit from the
summer break to make personal arrangements for the transfer of their work base.
For strict compliance.
4

In a Memorandum dated April 22, 2005 addressed to DA Secretary Arthur Yap, private respondents opposed the implementation of
the April 1, 2005 Memorandum.
5

They alleged that in 2004, former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo made a pronouncement during one of her visits in Cotabato City
that the regional seat of Region 12 shall remain in Cotabato City.
6
Only three departments were not covered by the suspension of E.O.
No. 304, namely, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Tourism (DOT), and Department of Labor and Employment
(DOLE).
7

Respondents alleged further in their Memorandum to the DA Secretary that on March 7, 2005, they appealed to the Secretary of
Agriculture that the implementation of E.O. No. 304 be held in abeyance. A copy of the Petition was attached to the Memorandum. It
cited reasons such as the huge costs the physical transfer will entail and the plight of employees who have already settled and
established their homes in Cotabato City.
8

On March 8, 2005, their Petition was endorsed by Department of Agriculture Employees Association-12 (DAEAS-12) President Osmea I.
Motaer to then President Macapagal-Arroyo, and on April 12, 2005, this was referred to DA Secretary Yap for his information and
appropriate action.
9
Respondents justified their appeal saying that a building was constructed in Cotabato City that can
accommodate the whole staff of DARFU XII. On the other hand, there is no building yet in Koronadal City where rent is very
expensive.
10
Moreover, if the regional office remains in Cotabato City, the government need not spend over 7,200,000.00 as
dislocation pay as well as other expenses for equipment hauling and construction.
11
Finally, respondents alleged that the proposed
third floor of the ATI Building in Tantangan has a sub-standard foundation and will not be issued a certificate of occupancy by the City
Engineering Office of Koronadal City as per information from an auditor.
12

On May 17, 2005, OIC Abusama M. Alid held a meeting and ordered the transfer of the regional office to ATI Building in Tantangan and
Tupi Seed Farm in Tupi, both located in South Cotabato and Uptown, Koronadal City, to be carried out on May 21, 2005.
13

This prompted respondents to file on May 18, 2005 a Complaint for Injunction with Prayer for Issuance of Writ of Preliminary Injunction
and/or Temporary Restraining Order with the Regional Trial Court, Branch 14 of Cotabato City.
14

By Order dated October 9, 2006, the trial court granted respondents' Prayer for a Writ of Preliminary Injunction.
15

In a petition dated December 17, 2006,
16
petitioner went to the Court of Appeals via Rule 65 on the ground that the assailed Order of
the trial court is contrary to the pronouncement of this Court in DENR v. DENR Region 12 Employees.
Through the March 21, 2007 Resolution, the Court of Appeals dismissed the Petition for Certiorari for failure of petitioner to resort to a
Motion for Reconsideration of the assailed trial court Order.
17

Hence, the present Petition under Rule 45.
Petitioner argues that (1) this case falls under the exceptions for filing a Motion for Reconsideration prior to filing a Petition under Rule
65; (2) the trial court Order enjoining the transfer is contrary to DENR v. DENR Region 12 Employees
18
that upheld the separation of
powers between the executive and judiciary on the wisdom of transfer of regional offices; (3) the trial court interfered into this wisdom
of the executive in the management of its affairs; and (4) the trial court disregarded basic rules on amendment and revocation of
administrative issuances and the propriety of injunction as a remedy.
19

In their Comment, respondents counter that a Petition via Rule 45 is not the proper remedy to assail the disputed Resolutions.
20
They
allege that the assailed Court of Appeals Resolution dismissing the Petition for Certiorari for failure of the petitioners to file a Motion for
Reconsideration is not a "final order or resolution" contemplated by Rule 45.
21
It is not an adjudication on the merits.
22
In fact, the Court
of Appeals did not even attempt to resolve the propriety of the issuance of the assailed trial court Order.
23
In any case, respondents
argue that petitioners failure to file a Motion for Reconsideration is fatal. They contend that this is a condition sine qua non for a
Petition under Rule 65, and none of the exceptions are present in this case.
24

Based on both parties contentions, the issues involved in this case may be summarized as follows:
I. Whether a Petition via Rule 45 is the proper remedy to assail the disputed Resolutions
II. Whether the present case falls within the exceptions on the requisite for filing a Motion for Reconsideration prior to filing a
Petition for Certiorari under Rule 65
III. Whether petitioner can raise other issues not addressed in the assailed Resolutions
IV. Whether the issuance by the RTC of a preliminary injunction against the transfer of the DA Regional Office to Koronadal
City violates the separation of powers between the executive department and the judiciary as to the wisdom behind the
transfer
First, we discuss the procedural issues.
Respondents contend that a Petition via Rule 45 is not the proper remedy to assail the disputed Resolutions.
25
They allege that the
assailedCourt of Appeals Resolution dismissing the Petition for Certiorari for failure of the petitioners to file a Motion for Reconsideration
is not a "final order or resolution" contemplated by Rule 45.
26

On the other hand, petitioner argues that if the assailed Resolutions are not elevated via Rule 45, they would attain finality and
consequently, the trial court Order dated October 9, 2006 would become unassailable as well.
27

A dismissal by the Court of Appeals of a Petition via Rule 65 for failure to file a Motion for Reconsideration may be assailed via Rule 45.
Unlike a Petition via Rule 45 that is a continuation of the appellate process over the original case, a special civil action for certiorari
under Rule 65 is an original or independent action.
28
Consequently, the March 21, 2007 Resolution of the Court of Appeals dismissing
the Petition via Rule 65 as well as its August 16, 2007 Resolution denying reconsideration are the final Resolutions contemplated under
Rule 45. As correctly pointed out by petitioner, these Resolutions would attain finality if these are not elevated on appeal via Rule 45. As
a result, the trial court Order dated October 9, 2006 would also become unassailable.
29
1wphi1
Respondents also argue that petitioners failure to file a Motion for Reconsideration of the assailed Regional Trial Court Order dated
October 9, 2006 is fatal.
30
They contend that the reasons raised by petitioner do not justify dispensing with the prerequisite of filing a
Motion for Reconsideration.
31

For its part, petitioner argues that its Petition for Certiorari filed before the Court of Appeals falls under the exceptions to the necessity of
filing a Motion for Reconsideration.
32
In its Petition with the Court of Appeals, petitioners explained its reasons for no longer filing a
Motion for Reconsideration of the assailed order in that (a) the questions to be raised in the motion have already been duly raised and
passed upon by the lower court
33
and (b) there is urgent necessity for the resolution of the questions or issues raised.
34
Petitioners allege
that the trial court presiding judge was not acting on the disposition of the case with dispatch and that any further delay would unduly
prejudice the interests of the government in pursuing its economic development strategies in the region.
35

The settled rule is that a Motion for Reconsideration is a condition sine qua non for the filing of a Petition for Certiorari.
36
Its purpose is to
grant an opportunity for the court to correct any actual or perceived error attributed to it by re-examination of the legal and factual
circumstances of the case.
37

This rule admits well-defined exceptions as follows:
Concededly, the settled rule is that a motion for reconsideration is a condition sine qua non for the filing of a petition for certiorari.
Its purpose is to grant an opportunity for the court to correct any actual or perceived error attributed to it by the re-examination of the
legal and factual circumstances of the case. The rule is, however, circumscribed by well-defined exceptions, such as (a) where the
order is a patent nullity, as where the court a quo has no jurisdiction; (b) where the questions raised in the certiorari proceedings have
been duly raised and passed upon by the lower court, or are the same as those raised and passed upon in the lower court; (c) where
there is an urgent necessity for the resolution of the question and any further delay would prejudice the interests of the Government or
of the petitioner or the subject matter of the action is perishable; (d) where, under the circumstances, a motion for reconsideration
would be useless; (e) where petitioner was deprived of due process and there is extreme urgency for relief; (f) where, in a criminal
case, relief from an order of arrest is urgent and the granting of such relief by the trial court is improbable; (g) where the proceedings in
the lower court are a nullity for lack of due process; (h) where the proceeding were ex parte or in which the petitioner had no
opportunity to object; and (i) where the issue raised is one purely of law or where public interest is involved.
38
(Emphasis provided)
The second exception is present in this case.
In Siok Ping Tang v. Subic Bay Distribution, Inc.,
39
this Court found that the non-filing of a Motion for Reconsideration in the case was not
fatal since the questions raised in the certiorari proceedings have already been duly raised and passed upon by the lower court, viz:
Respondent explained their omission of filing a motion for reconsideration before resorting to a petition for certiorari based on
exceptions (b), (c) and (i). The CA brushed aside the filing of the motion for reconsideration based on the ground that the questions
raised in the certiorari proceedings have been duly raised and passed upon by the lower court, or are the same as those raised and
passed upon in the lower court. We agree.
Respondent had filed its position paper in the RTC stating the reasons why the injunction prayed for by petitioner should not be
granted. However, the RTC granted the injunction. Respondent filed a petition for certiorari with the CA and presented the same
arguments which were already passed upon by the RTC. The RTC already had the opportunity to consider and rule on the question of
the propriety or impropriety of the issuance of the injunction. We found no reversible error committed by the CA for relaxing the rule
since respondent's case falls within the exceptions.
40

Similarly, the various issues raised in the Petition with the Court of Appeals have already been raised by petitioner on several occasions
through its pleadings with the trial court. The lower court, therefore, passed upon them prior to its issuance of its Order dated October 9,
2006. Specifically, the table below summarizes the issues and arguments raised by petitioner before the trial court vis a vis those raised
in the Petition for Certiorari filed with the Court of Appeals:
TRIAL COURT
COURT OF
APPEALS
Motion to Dismiss
41

dated June 27, 2005
Memorandum
42

dated September 1, 2006
Manifestation and Reply
43

dated September 5, 2006
Petition for Certiorari
44

dated December 17, 2006
The Honorable Supreme
Court had already ruled
that the propriety or
wisdom of the transfer of
government agencies or
offices from Cotabato
City to Koronadal, South
Cotabato is beyond
judicial inquiry.
45

The instant complaint filed by
plaintiffs for injunction is an
indirect way of preventing the
transfer of the regional seat of
DARFU XII which has been
upheld by the Supreme Court
in DENR v. DENR Region 12
Employees (409 SCRA 359
[2003]). If this Honorable Court
cannot countermand the
Supreme Courts ruling
directly, it cannot do so
indirectly.
46

To reiterate, the Supreme
Court has held in the
applicable case of DENR v.
DENR Region 12 Employees
(409 SCRA 359 [2003]) that
respondent DENR employees
"cannot, by means of an
injunction, force the DENR XII
Regional Offices to remain in
Cotabato City, as the exercise
of the authority to transfer the
same is executive in nature."
The Supreme Court further
stated in said case that "the
judiciary cannot inquire into
Respondent judge committed
grave abuse of discretion to
lack or excess of jurisdiction
when he enjoined petitioner
from transferring DA-RFU XII
from Cotabato City to South
Cotabato and Koronadal
City. The assailed order of the
lower court enjoining
petitioner from transferring the
seat of the DA-RFU XII office to
Koronadal City in South
Cotabato is contrary to the
pronouncement of the
Supreme Court in DENR v.
the wisdom or expediency of
the acts of the executive or
the legislative department."
47

DENR Region 12 Employees
(409 SCRA 359 [2003]).
48

Corollary to the above, the
Order dated May 31, 2005 of
this Honorable Court enjoining
defendants from transferring
the seat of the DA-RFU XII
office to Koronadal City in
South Cotabato is contrary to
the above pronouncement of
the Supreme Court. Perforce,
the Order must be set aside
accordingly.
49


The allegation under
Paragraph 4 of the
Complaint that her
Excellency, President
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
only made a public
pronouncement that the
effect of E.O. No. 304 is
suspended is hearsay
and contrary to the
procedure on the repeal,
amendment or
modification of rules and
regulations.
50

Executive orders are
amended, modified or
revoked by subsequent ones.
The alleged public
pronouncement of the
President suspending the
implementation of Executive
Order No. 304 is contrary to
the ordinance power of the
President as provided under
the Administrative Code of
1987.
51

Respondent judge acted
arbitrarily, whimsically and in
a very biased manner when
he concluded that the
President of the Republic has
suspended the
implementation of Executive
Order No. 304.
52

By the nature of their
appointment as Regional
Officials and Employees,
plaintiffs can be
reassigned anywhere
within Region XII in the
exigency of the service.
53

Respondent judge committed
grave abuse of discretion
when he concluded that the
transfer of DA-RFU XII to
Koronadal City will affect
seriously the studies of
respondents children and
that there will be no buildings
to house respondents.
54

The allegation of possible injury
to plaintiffs and their families
as a consequence of the
planned transfer of the
regional seat of DA-RFU XII to
Koronadal City had been
ruled upon by the Supreme
Court in DENR v. DENR Region
12 Employees (409 SCRA 359
[2003]) to be beyond judicial
inquiry because it involves
concerns that are more on the
propriety or wisdom of the
transfer rather than on its
legality.
55

If the plight and conditions of
the families of the DENR
employees are worth
considering, like the
dislocation of schooling of
their children, which without
doubt has more adverse
impact than the supposed
absence of allowances for the
transfer, the Supreme Court
should have granted the
injunction prayed for by said
DENR employees. Apparently,
the Supreme Court did not
find it compelling to grant the
injunction over and above the
wisdom of the transfer.
56


The families of the employees
can still stay in Cotabato City
in as much as they have
established residences in the
area. It must be emphasized
that the employees derive
salaries and benefits from their
government work, from which
they support their families. The
movement of employees thus
would not cause much
financial dislocation as long as
the employees received their
salaries and benefits.
57


The Honorable Court must
further realize that the
employees are being paid
their salaries. In the given
order of things, such salaries
are enough to provide for
their basic necessities. The
Regional Office can simply
provide for transportation to
effectuate the minimum
required for the transfer to
Koronadal City and expect
the employees to live on their
salaries. Any allowances due
Respondent judge committed
grave abuse of discretion
when he concluded that the
transfer of DA-RFU XII would
stretch out the meager
salaries of respondents and
that it would cause them
economic strangulation.
59

and owing the employees
connected with the transfer
can be given to them later as
back payments. This is not to
forget that the Regional Office
has provided temporary
housing for said employees to
alleviate any inconvenience
that they may suffer.
58

There is absolutely no
technical malversation in
the realignment of
budgetary allocation for
the intended transfer of
DA-RFU XII to Koronadal
City.
60

The issues on the alleged
illegal realignment of funds,
unauthorized ssuance of
memorandum and the
alleged unjust transfer of
employees of DA-RFU XII are
acts that are executive in
nature x x x.
61

Respondent judge committed
grave abuse of discretion
when he ordered the
issuance of a writ of
preliminary injunction based
on the absence of
appropriation for the transfer
to Koronadal City in the
amount ofP9,250,000.00.
62

x x x the funds needed for the
transfer can be sourced and
met by the DA from sources
such as the discretionary
administrative fund of the
Office of the Secretary.
Respondents computation of
the amount required for the
transfer in the amount
of P9,222,000.00 is bloated or
exaggerated.
63


Respondents who are
accountable officers cannot
be coerced to transfer funds
that are deemed illegal or
improper. Hence, no personal
liability or irreparable injury
would be caused upon them.
On the other hand, the rest of
respondents who are ordinary
employees would not suffer
any irreparable
injury.1wphi1 This is due to the
fact that they have no privity
to the alleged illegal transfer
of funds.
64

Respondent judge committed
grave abuse of discretion
when he concluded that
respondents would suffer
irreparable damage if the
transfer of DARFU XII from
Cotabato City to Koronadal
City is not enjoined.
65

Thus, the present case falls under the second exception in that a Motion for Reconsideration need not be filed where questions raised
in the certiorari proceedings are the same as those raised and passed upon in the lower court.
In any case, this Court disregards the presence of procedural flaws when there is necessity to address the issues because of the
demands of public interest, including the need for stability in the public service and the serious implications the case may cause on the
effective administration of the executive department.
66

The instant Petition involves the effective administration of the executive department and would similarly warrant relaxation of
procedural rules if need be. Specifically, the fourth clause of E.O. No. 304 states as follows: "WHEREAS, the political and socio-economic
conditions in SOCCSKSARGEN Region point to the need for designating the regional center and seat of the region to improve
government operations and services."
67

Respondents final contention is that the disputed Resolutions issued by the Court of Appeals dwell solely on the indispensability of the
filing of a Motion for Reconsideration with the trial court before filing a Petition via Rule 65; thus, the other grounds in the present Petition
need not be addressed.
68

Considering that the Petition has overcome the procedural issues as discussed above, we can now proceed to discuss the substantive
issues raised by petitioner.
Petitioner argues that the assailed Order of the trial court enjoining it from transferring the seat of the DA-RFU XII Regional Office to
Koronadal City is contrary to this Courts pronouncement in DENR v. DENR Region 12 Employees upholding the separation of powers of
the executive department and the judiciary when it comes to the wisdom of transfer of regional offices.
69

This Court has held that while the power to merge administrative regions is not provided for expressly in the Constitution, it is a power
which has traditionally been lodged with the President to facilitate the exercise of the power of general supervision over local
governments.
70
This power of supervision is found in the Constitution
71
as well as in the Local Government Code of 1991, as follows:
Section 25 National Supervision over Local Government Units
(a) Consistent with the basic policy on local autonomy, the President shall exercise general supervision over local government units to
ensure that their acts are within the scope of their prescribed powers and functions.
The President shall exercise supervisory authority directly over provinces, highly urbanized cities, and independent component cities;
through the province with respect to component cities and municipalities; and through the city and municipality with respect to
barangays.
72

In Chiongbian v. Orbos, we held further that the power of the President to reorganize administrative regions carries with it the power to
determine the regional center.
73

The case of DENR v. DENR Region 12 Employees is in point. This Court held that the DENR Secretary can reorganize validly the DENR by
ordering the transfer of the DENR XII Regional Offices from Cotabato City to Koronadal, South Cotabato. We also found as follows:
74

It may be true that the transfer of the offices may not be timely considering that: (1) there are no buildings yet to house the regional
offices in Koronadal, (2) the transfer falls on the month of Ramadan, (3) the children of the affected employees are already enrolled in
schools in Cotabato City, (4) the Regional Development Council was not consulted, and (5) the Sangguniang Panglungsod, through a
resolution, requested the DENR Secretary to reconsider the orders. However, these concern issues addressed to the wisdom of the
transfer rather than to its legality. It is basic in our form of government that the judiciary cannot inquire into the wisdom or expediency
of the acts of the executive or the legislative department, for each department is supreme and independent of the others, and each is
devoid of authority not only to encroach upon the powers or field of action assigned to any of the other department, but also to
inquire into or pass upon the advisability or wisdom of the acts performed, measures taken or decisions made by the other
departments.
75
(Emphasis provided)
The transfer of the regional center of the SOCCSKSARGEN region to Koronadal City is an executive function.
Similar to DENR v. DENR Region 12 Employees, the issues in the present case are addressed to the wisdom of the transfer rather than to
its legality. Some of these concerns are the lack of a proper and suitable building in Koronadal to house the DA regional office, the
inconvenience of the transfer considering that the children of respondent-employees are already enrolled in Cotabato City schools,
and other similar reasons.
The judiciary cannot inquire into the wisdom or expediency of the acts of the executive.
76
When the trial court issued its October 9,
2006 Order granting preliminary injunction on the transfer of the regional center to Koronadal City when such transfer was mandated
by E.O. No. 304, the lower court did precisely that.
The principle of separation of powers ordains that each of the three great government branches has exclusive cognizance of and is
supreme in concerns falling within its own constitutionally allocated sphere.
77
The judiciary as Justice Laurel emphatically asserted "will
neither direct nor restrain executive or legislative action x x x. "
78

Finally, a verbal pronouncement to the effect that E.O. No. 304 is suspended should not have been given weight. An executive order is
valid when it is not contrary to the law or Constitution.
79

WHEREFORE, the Petition is GRANTED. The Resolutions of the Court of Appeals dated March 21, 2007 and August 16, 2007 in CA-G.R. SP
No. 0 1457-MIN, as well as the Decision dated October 9, 2006 of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 14 of Cotabato City are REVERSED
and SET ASIDE.
SO ORDERED.
MARVIC MARIO VICTOR F. LEONEN
Associate Justice
WE CONCUR:
PRESBITERO J. VELASCO, JR.
Associate Justice
Chairperson
DIOSDADO M. PERALTA
Associate Justice
ROBERTO A. ABAD
Associate Justice
JOSE CATRAL MENDOZA
Associate Justice
A T T E S T A T I O N
I attest that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the
opinion of the Courts Division.
PRESBITERO J. VELASCO, JR.
Associate Justice
Chairperson, Third Division
C E R T I F I C A T I O N
Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution and the Division Chairperson's Attestation, I certify that the conclusions in the
above Decision had been reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Court's Divi sion.
MARIA LOURDES P. A. SERENO
Chief Justice

EN BANC

ANAK MINDANAO PARTY-LIST GROUP, as
represented by Rep. Mujiv S. Hataman,
G.R. No. 166052

and MAMALO DESCENDANTS ORGANIZATION, INC.,
as represented by its Chairman Romy Pardi,
Petitioners,



- versus -




THE EXECUTIVE
SECRETARY, THE HON. EDUARDO R. ERMITA, and THE
SECRETARY OF AGRARIAN/LAND REFORM, THE HON.
RENE C. VILLA,
Respondents.
Present:

PUNO, C.J.,
QUISUMBING,
YNARES-SANTIAGO,
SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ,
CARPIO,
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ,
CORONA,
CARPIO MORALES,
AZCUNA,
TINGA,
CHICO-NAZARIO,
GARCIA,
VELASCO, JR.,
NACHURA, and
REYES, JJ.

Promulgated:

August 29, 2007
x----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------x


D E C I S I O N


CARPIO MORALES, J.:

Petitioners Anak Mindanao Party-List Group (AMIN) and Mamalo Descendants Organization, Inc. (MDOI) assail the
constitutionality of Executive Order (E.O.) Nos. 364 and 379, both issued in 2004, via the present Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition
with prayer for injunctive relief.

E.O. No. 364, which President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo issued on September 27, 2004, reads:

EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 364

TRANSFORMING THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRARIAN REFORM INTO THE DEPARTMENT OF LAND REFORM

WHEREAS, one of the five reform packages of the Arroyo administration is Social Justice and Basic [N]eeds;

WHEREAS, one of the five anti-poverty measures for social justice is asset reform;

WHEREAS, asset reforms covers [sic] agrarian reform, urban land reform, and ancestral domain reform;

WHEREAS, urban land reform is a concern of the Presidential Commission [for] the Urban Poor (PCUP) and ancestral
domain reform is a concern of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP);

WHEREAS, another of the five reform packages of the Arroyo administration is Anti -Corruption and Good
Government;

WHEREAS, one of the Good Government reforms of the Arroyo administration is rationalizing the bureaucracy by
consolidating related functions into one department;

WHEREAS, under law and jurisprudence, the President of the Philippines has broad powers to reorganize the offices
under her supervision and control;

NOW[,] THEREFORE[,] I, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, by the powers vested in me as President of the Republic of
the Philippines, do hereby order:

SECTION 1. The Department of Agrarian Reform is hereby transformed into the Department of Land Reform. It shall be
responsible for all land reform in the country, including agrarian reform, urban land reform, and ancestral domain
reform.

SECTION 2. The PCUP is hereby placed under the supervision and control of the Department of Land Reform. The
Chairman of the PCUP shall be ex-officio Undersecretary of the Department of Land Reform for Urban Land Reform.

SECTION 3. The NCIP is hereby placed under the supervision and control of the Department of Land Reform. The
Chairman of the NCIP shall be ex-officio Undersecretary of the Department of Land Reform for Ancestral Domain
Reform.

SECTION 4. The PCUP and the NCIP shall have access to the services provided by the Departments Finance,
Management and Administrative Office; Policy, Planning and Legal Affairs Office, Field Operations and Support
Services Office, and all other offices of the Department of Land Reform.

SECTION 5. All previous issuances that conflict with this Executive Order are hereby repealed or modified
accordingly.

SECTION 6. This Executive Order takes effect immediately. (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)


E.O. No. 379, which amended E.O. No. 364 a month later or on October 26, 2004, reads:

EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 379

AMENDING EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 364 ENTITLED TRANSFORMING THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRARIAN REFORM INTO THE
DEPARTMENT OF LAND REFORM

WHEREAS, Republic Act No. 8371 created the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples;

WHEREAS, pursuant to the Administrative Code of 1987, the President has the continuing authority to
reorganize the administrative structure of the National Government.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO, President of the Republic of the Philippines, by virtue of
the powers vested in me by the Constitution and existing laws, do hereby order:

Section 1. Amending Section 3 of Executive Order No. 364. Section 3 of Executive Order No. 364,
dated September 27, 2004 shall now read as follows:

Section 3. The National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) shall be an attached agency of the
Department of Land Reform.

Section 2. Compensation. The Chairperson shall suffer no diminution in rank and salary.

Section 3. Repealing Clause. All executive issuances, rules and regulations or parts thereof which are
inconsistent with this Executive Order are hereby revoked, amended or modified accordingly.

Section 4. Effectivity. This Executive Order shall take effect immediately. (Emphasis and underscoring in
the original)


Petitioners contend that the two presidential issuances are unconstitutional for violating:

- THE CONSTITUTIONAL PRINCIPLES OF SEPARATION OF POWERS AND OF THE RULE OF LAW[;]
- THE CONSTITUTIONAL SCHEME AND POLICIES FOR AGRARIAN REFORM, URBAN LAND REFORM, INDIGENOUS
PEOPLES RIGHTS AND ANCESTRAL DOMAIN[; AND]
- THE CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT OF THE PEOPLE AND THEIR ORGANIZATIONS TO EFFECTIVE AND REASONABLE
PARTICIPATION IN DECISION-MAKING, INCLUDING THROUGH ADEQUATE CONSULTATION[.]
[1]



By Resolution of December 6, 2005, this Court gave due course to the Petition and required the submission of memoranda, with
which petitioners and respondents complied on March 24, 2006 and April 11, 2006, respectively.

The issue on the transformation of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) into the Department of Land Reform (DLR) became
moot and academic, however, the department having reverted to its former name by virtue of E.O. No. 456
[2]
which was issued
on August 23, 2005.

The Court is thus left with the sole issue of the legality of placing the Presidential Commission
[3]
for the Urban Poor (PCUP) under
the supervision and control of the DAR, and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) under the DAR as an attached
agency.

Before inquiring into the validity of the reorganization, petitioners locus standi or legal standing, inter alia,
[4]
becomes a
preliminary question.

The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), on behalf of respondents, concedes that AMIN
[5]
has the requisite legal standing to file
this suit as member
[6]
of Congress.

Petitioners find it impermissible for the Executive to intrude into the domain of the Legislature. They posit that an act of the
Executive which injures the institution of Congress causes a derivative but nonetheless substantial injury, which can be questioned by a
member of Congress.
[7]
They add that to the extent that the powers of Congress are impaired, so is the power of each member
thereof, since his office confers a right to participate in the exercise of the powers of that institution.
[8]


Indeed, a member of the House of Representatives has standing to maintain inviolate the prerogatives, powers and privileges
vested by the Constitution in his office.
[9]


The OSG questions, however, the standing of MDOI, a registered peoples organization of Teduray and Lambangian tribesfolk of
(North) Upi and South Upi in theprovince of Maguindanao.

As co-petitioner, MDOI alleges that it is concerned with the negative impact of NCIPs becoming an attached agency of the
DAR on the processing of ancestral domain claims. It fears that transferring the NCIP to the DAR would affect the processing of
ancestral domain claims filed by its members.

Locus standi or legal standing has been defined as a personal and substantial interest in a case such that the party has sustained
or will sustain direct injury as a result of the governmental act that is being challenged. The gist of the question of standing is whether a
party alleges such personal stake in the outcome of the controversy as to assure that concrete adverseness which sharpens the
presentation of issues upon which the court depends for illumination of difficult constitutional questions.
[10]


It has been held that a party who assails the constitutionality of a statute must have a direct and personal interest. It must show
not only that the law or any governmental act is invalid, but also that it sustained or is in immediate danger of sustaining some direct
injury as a result of its enforcement, and not merely that it suffers thereby in some indefinite way. It must show that it has been or is
about to be denied some right or privilege to which it is lawfully entitled or that it is about to be subjected to some burdens or penalties
by reason of the statute or act complained of.
[11]


For a concerned party to be allowed to raise a constitutional question, it must show that (1) it has personally suffered some actual
or threatened injury as a result of the allegedly illegal conduct of the government, (2) the injury is fairly traceable to the challenged
action, and (3) the injury is likely to be redressed by a favorable action.
[12]


An examination of MDOIs nebulous claims of negative impact and probable setbacks
[13]
shows that they are too abstract to
be considered judicially cognizable. And the line of causation it proffers between the challenged action and alleged injury is too
attenuated.

Vague propositions that the implementation of the assailed orders will work injustice and violate the rights of its members
cannot clothe MDOI with the requisite standing. Neither would its status as a peoples organization vest it with the legal standing to
assail the validity of the executive orders.
[14]


La Bugal-Blaan Tribal Association, Inc. v. Ramos,
[15]
which MDOI cites in support of its claim to legal standing, is inapplicable
as it is not similarly situated with the therein petitioners who alleged personal and substantial injury resulting from the mining activities
permitted by the assailed statute. And so is Cruz v. Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources,
[16]
for the indigenous peoples
leaders and organizations were not the petitioners therein, who necessarily had to satisfy the locus standi requirement, but were
intervenors who sought and were allowed to be impleaded, not to assail but to defend the constitutionality of the statute.

Moreover, MDOI raises no issue of transcendental importance to justify a relaxation of the rule on legal standing. To be accorded
standing on the ground of transcendental importance, Senate of the Philippines v. Ermita
[17]
requires that the following elements must
be established: (1) the public character of the funds or other assets involved in the case, (2) the presence of a clear case of disregard
of a constitutional or statutory prohibition by the public respondent agency or instrumentality of government, and (3) the lack of any
other party with a more direct and specific interest in raising the questions being raised. The presence of these elements MDOI failed
to establish, much less allege.

Francisco, Jr. v. Fernando
[18]
more specifically declares that the transcendental importance of the issues raised must relate to the
merits of the petition.

This Court, not being a venue for the ventilation of generalized grievances, must thus deny adjudication of the matters raised by
MDOI.

Now, on AMINs position. AMIN charges the Executive Department with transgression of the principle of separation of powers.

Under the principle of separation of powers, Congress, the President, and the Judiciary may not encroach on fields allocated
to each of them. The legislature is generally limited to the enactment of laws, the executive to the enforcement of laws, and the
judiciary to their interpretation and application to cases and controversies. The principle presupposes mutual respect by and
between the executive, legislative and judicial departments of the government and calls for them to be left alone to discharge their
duties as they see fit.
[19]


AMIN contends that since the DAR, PCUP and NCIP were created by statutes,
[20]
they can only be transformed, merged or
attached by statutes, not by mere executive orders.

While AMIN concedes that the executive power is vested in the President
[21]
who, as Chief Executive, holds the power of control
of all the executive departments, bureaus, and offices,
[22]
it posits that this broad power of control including the power to reorganize is
qualified and limited, for it cannot be exercised in a manner contrary to law, citing the constitutional duty
[23]
of the President to ensure
that the laws, including those creating the agencies, be faithfully executed.

AMIN cites the naming of the PCUP as a presidential commission to be clearly an extension of the President, and the creation of
the NCIP as an independent agency under the Office of the President.
[24]
It thus argues that since the legislature had seen fit to
create these agencies at separate times and with distinct mandates, the President should respect that legislative disposition.

In fine, AMIN contends that any reorganization of these administrative agencies should be the subject of a statute.

AMINs position fails to impress.

The Constitution confers, by express provision, the power of control over executive departments, bureaus and offices in the
President alone. And it lays down a limitation on the legislative power.

The line that delineates the Legislative and Executive power is not indistinct. Legislative power is the
authority, under the Constitution, to make laws, and to alter and repeal them. The Constitution, as the will of the
people in their original, sovereign and unlimited capacity, has vested this power in the Congress of
the Philippines. The grant of legislative power to Congress is broad, general and comprehensive. The legislative
body possesses plenary power for all purposes of civil government. Any power, deemed to be legislative by usage
and tradition, is necessarily possessed by Congress, unless the Constitution has lodged it elsewhere. In fine, except
as limited by the Constitution, either expressly or impliedly, legislative power embraces all subjects and extends to
matters of general concern or common interest.

While Congress is vested with the power to enact laws, the President executes the laws. The executive power
is vested in the President. It is generally defined as the power to enforce and administer the laws. It is the power of
carrying the laws into practical operation and enforcing their due observance.

As head of the Executive Department, the President is the Chief Executive. He represents the government as
a whole and sees to it that all laws are enforced by the officials and employees of his department. He has control
over the executive department, bureaus and offices. This means that he has the authority to assume directly the
functions of the executive department, bureau and office, or interfere with the discretion of its officials. Corollary to
the power of control, the President also has the duty of supervising and enforcement of laws for the maintenance of
general peace and public order. Thus, he is granted administrative power over bureaus and offices under his control
to enable him to discharge his duties effectively.
[25]
(Italics omitted, underscoring supplied)


The Constitutions express grant of the power of control in the President justifies an executive action to carry out reorganization
measures under a broad authority of law.
[26]


In enacting a statute, the legislature is presumed to have deliberated with full knowledge of all existing laws and jurisprudence on
the subject.
[27]
It is thus reasonable to conclude that in passing a statute which places an agency under the Office of the President, it
was in accordance with existing laws and jurisprudence on the Presidents power to reorganize.

In establishing an executive department, bureau or office, the legislature necessarily ordains an executive agencys position in
the scheme of administrative structure. Such determination is primary,
[28]
but subject to the Presidents continuing authority to
reorganize the administrative structure. As far as bureaus, agencies or offices in the executive department are concerned, the power
of control may justify the President to deactivate the functions of a particular office. Or a law may expressly grant the President the
broad authority to carry out reorganization measures.
[29]
The Administrative Code of 1987 is one such law:
[30]


SEC. 30. Functions of Agencies under the Office of the President. Agencies under the Office of the President
shall continue to operate and function in accordance with their respective charters or laws creating them, except as
otherwise provided in this Code or by law.

SEC. 31. Continuing Authority of the President to Reorganize his Office. The President, subject to the policy in
the Executive Office and in order to achieve simplicity, economy and efficiency, shall have continuing authority to
reorganize the administrative structure of the Office of the President. For this purpose, he may take any of the
following actions:

(1) Restructure the internal organization of the Office of the President Proper, including the immediate Offices,
the Presidential Special Assistants/Advisers System and the Common Staff Support System, by abolishing,
consolidating, or merging units thereof or transferring functions from one unit to another;

(2) Transfer any function under the Office of the President to any other Department or Agency as well as
transfer functions to the Office of the President from other Departments and Agencies; and

(3) Transfer any agency under the Office of the President to any other department or agency as well as
transfer agencies to the Office of the President from other departments or agencies.
[31]
(Italics in the original;
emphasis and underscoring supplied)


In carrying out the laws into practical operation, the President is best equipped to assess whether an executive agency ought to
continue operating in accordance with its charter or the law creating it. This is not to say that the legislature is incapable of making a
similar assessment and appropriate action within its plenary power. The Administrative Code of 1987 merely underscores the need to
provide the President with suitable solutions to situations on hand to meet the exigencies of the service that may call for the exercise of
the power of control.

x x x The law grants the President this power in recognition of the recurring need of every President to
reorganize his office to achieve simplicity, economy and efficiency. The Office of the President is the nerve
center of the Executive Branch. To remain effective and efficient, the Office of the President must be capable of
being shaped and reshaped by the President in the manner he deems fit to carry out his directives and
policies. After all, the Office of the President is the command post of the President. This is the rationale behind the
Presidents continuing authority to reorganize the administrative structure of the Office of the President.
[32]



The Office of the President consists of the Office of the President proper and the agencies under it.
[33]
It is not disputed that PCUP
and NCIP were formed as agencies under the Office of the President.
[34]
The Agencies under the Office of the President refer to
those offices placed under the chairmanship of the President, those under the supervision and control of the President, those under the
administrative supervision of the Office of the President, those attached to the Office for policy and program coordination, and those
that are not placed by law or order creating them under any special department.
[35]


As thus provided by law, the President may transfer any agency under the Office of the President to any other department or
agency, subject to the policy in the Executive Office and in order to achieve simplicity, economy and efficiency. Gauged against
these guidelines,
[36]
the challenged executive orders may not be said to have been issued with grave abuse of discretion or in violation
of the rule of law.

The references in E.O. 364 to asset reform as an anti-poverty measure for social justice and to rationalization of the bureaucracy
in furtherance of good government
[37]
encapsulate a portion of the existing policy in the Executive Office. As averred by the OSG,
the President saw it fit to streamline the agencies so as not to hinder the delivery of crucial social reforms.
[38]


The consolidation of functions in E.O. 364 aims to attain the objectives of simplicity, economy and efficiency as gathered from
the provision granting PCUP and NCIP access to the range of services provided by the DARs technical offices and support systems.
[39]


The characterization of the NCIP as an independent agency under the Office of the President does not remove said body from
the Presidents control and supervision with respect to its performance of administrative functions. So it has been opined:

That Congress did not intend to place the NCIP under the control of the President in all instances is evident in
the IPRA itself, which provides that the decisions of the NCIP in the exercise of its quasi-judicial functions shall be
appealable to the Court of Appeals, like those of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) and the
Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Nevertheless, the NCIP, although independent to a certain degree,
was placed by Congress under the office of the President and, as such, is still subject to the Presidents power of
control and supervision granted under Section 17, Article VII of the Constitution with respect to its performance of
administrative functions[.]
[40]
(Underscoring supplied)


In transferring the NCIP to the DAR as an attached agency, the President effectively tempered the exercise of presidential
authority and considerably recognized that degree of independence.

The Administrative Code of 1987 categorizes administrative relationships into (1) supervision and control, (2) administrative
supervision, and (3) attachment.
[41]
With respect to the third category, it has been held that an attached agency has a larger measure
of independence from the Department to which it is attached than one which is under departmental supervision and control or
administrative supervision. This is borne out by the lateral relationship between the Department and the attached agency. The
attachment is merely for policy and program coordination.
[42]
Indeed, the essential autonomous character of a board is not
negated by its attachment to a commission.
[43]


AMIN argues, however, that there is an anachronism of sorts because there can be no policy and program coordination
between conceptually different areas of reform. It claims that the new framework subsuming agrarian reform, urban land reform and
ancestral domain reform is fundamentally incoherent in view of the widely different contexts.
[44]
And it posits that it is a substantive
transformation or reorientation that runs contrary to the constitutional scheme and policies.

AMIN goes on to proffer the concept of ordering the law
[45]
which, so it alleges, can be said of the Constitutions distinct
treatment of these three areas, as reflected in separate provisions in different parts of the Constitution.
[46]
It argues that the Constitution
did not intend an over-arching concept of agrarian reform to encompass the two other areas, and that how the law is ordered in a
certain way should not be undermined by mere executive orders in the guise of administrative efficiency.

The Court is not persuaded.



The interplay of various areas of reform in the promotion of social justice is not something implausible or unlikely.
[47]
Their
interlocking nature cuts across labels and works against a rigid pigeonholing of executive tasks among the members of the Presidents
official family. Notably, the Constitution inhibited from identifying and compartmentalizing the composition of the Cabinet. In vesting
executive power in one person rather than in a plural executive, the evident intention was to invest the power holder with energy.
[48]


AMIN takes premium on the severed treatment of these reform areas in marked provisions of the Constitution. It is a precept,
however, that inferences drawn from title, chapter or section headings are entitled to very little weight.
[49]
And so must reliance on sub-
headings,
[50]
or the lack thereof, to support a strained deduction be given the weight of helium.

Secondary aids may be consulted to remove, not to create doubt.
[51]
AMINs thesis unsettles, more than settles the order of
things in construing the Constitution. Its interpretation fails to clearly establish that the so-called ordering or arrangement of
provisions in the Constitution was consciously adopted to imply a signification in terms of government hierarchy from where a
constitutional mandate can per se be derived or asserted. It fails to demonstrate that the ordering or layout was not simply a matter
of style in constitutional drafting but one of intention in government structuring. With its inherent ambiguity, the proposed interpretation
cannot be made a basis for declaring a law or governmental act unconstitutional.

A law has in its favor the presumption of constitutionality. For it to be nullified, it must be shown that there is a clear and
unequivocal breach of the Constitution. The ground for nullity must be clear and beyond reasonable doubt.
[52]
Any reasonable doubt
should, following the universal rule of legal hermeneutics, be resolved in favor of the constitutionality of a law.
[53]


Ople v. Torres
[54]
on which AMIN relies is unavailing. In that case, an administrative order involved a system of identification that
required a delicate adjustment of various contending state policies properly lodged in the legislative arena. It was declared
unconstitutional for dealing with a subject that should be covered by law and for violating the right to privacy.

In the present case, AMIN glaringly failed to show how the reorganization by executive fiat would hamper the exercise of citizens
rights and privileges. It rested on the ambiguous conclusion that the reorganization jeopardizes economic, social and cultural rights. It
intimated, without expounding, that the agendum behind the issuances is to weaken the indigenous peoples rights in favor of the
mining industry. And it raised concerns about the possible retrogression in DARs performance as the added workload may impede the
implementation of the comprehensive agrarian reform program.

AMIN has not shown, however, that by placing the NCIP as an attached agency of the DAR, the President altered the nature
and dynamics of the jurisdiction and adjudicatory functions of the NCIP concerning all claims and disputes involving rights of
indigenous cultural communities and
indigenous peoples. Nor has it been shown, nay alleged, that the reorganization was made in bad faith.
[55]


As for the other arguments raised by AMIN which pertain to the wisdom or soundness of the executive decision, the Court finds it
unnecessary to pass upon them. The raging debate on the most fitting framework in the delivery of social services is endless in the
political arena. It is not the business of this Court to join in the fray. Courts have no judicial power to review cases involving political
questions and, as a rule, will desist from taking cognizance of speculative or hypothetical cases, advisory opinions and cases that have
become moot.
[56]


Finally, a word on the last ground proffered for declaring the unconstitutionality of the assailed issuances that they viol ate
Section 16, Article XIII of the Constitution
[57]
on the peoples right to participate in decision-making through adequate consultation
mechanisms.

The framers of the Constitution recognized that the consultation mechanisms were already operating without the States
action by law, such that the role of the State would be mere facilitation, not necessarily creation of these consultation
mechanisms. The State provides the support, but eventually it is the people, properly organized in their associations, who can assert
the right and pursue the objective. Penalty for failure on the part of the government to consult could only be reflected in the ballot
box and would not nullify government action.
[58]




WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED. Executive Order Nos. 364 and 379 issued on September 27, 2004 and October 26, 2004,
respectively, are declared not unconstitutional.

SO ORDERED.



CONCHITA CARPIO MORALES
Associate Justice



WE CONCUR:




REYNATO S. PUNO
Chief Justice




LEONARDO A. QUISUMBINGAssociate Justice




ANGELINA SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ
Associate Justice







CONSUELO YNARES- SANTIAGO
Associate Justice




ANTONIO T. CARPIO
Associate Justice

MA. ALICIA AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ
Associate Justice









ADOLFO S. AZCUNA
Associate Justice


RENATO C. CORONA
Associate Justice









DANTE O. TINGA
Associate Justice



MINITA V. CHICO-NAZARIO
Associate Justice




PRESBITERO J. VELASCO, JR.
Associate Justice



CANCIO C. GARCIA
Associate Justice




ANTONIO EDUARDO B. NACHURA
Associate Justice

RUBEN T. REYES
Associate Justice





CERTIFICATION

Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution, it is hereby certified that the conclusions in the above Decision were
reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Court.

REYNATO S. PUNO
Chief Justice


Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC



G.R. No. 84301. April 7, 1993.
NATIONAL LAND TITLES AND DEEDS REGISTRATION ADMINISTRATION, petitioner,
vs.
CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION and VIOLETA L. GARCIA, respondents.
The Solicitor General for petitioner.
Raul R. Estrella for private respondent.
SYLLABUS
1. ADMINISTRATIVE LAW; EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 649; REORGANIZED LAND REGISTRATION COMMISSION TO NALTDRA; EXPRESSLY
PROVIDED THE ABOLITION OF EXISTING POSITIONS. Executive Order No. 649 authorized the reorganization of the Land Registration
Commission (LRC) into the National Land Titles and Deeds Registration Administration (NALTDRA). It abolished all the positions in the
now defunct LRC and required new appointments to be issued to all employees of the NALTDRA. The question of whether or not a law
abolishes an office is one of legislative intent about which there can be no controversy whatsoever if there is an explicit declaration in
the law itself. A closer examination of Executive Order No. 649 which authorized the reorganization of the Land Registration Commission
(LRC) into the National Land Titles and Deeds Registration Administration (NALTDRA), reveals that said law in express terms, provided for
the abolition of existing positions. Thus, without need of any interpretation, the law mandates that from the moment an implementing
order is issued, all positions in the Land Registration Commission are deemed non-existent. This, however, does not mean removal.
Abolition of a position does not involve or mean removal for the reason that removal implies that the post subsists and that one is
merely separated therefrom. (Arao vs. Luspo, 20 SCRA 722 [1967]) After abolition, there is in law no occupant. Thus, there can be no
tenure to speak of. It is in this sense that from the standpoint of strict law, the question of any impairment of security of tenure does not
arise. (De la Llana vs. Alba, 112 SCRA 294 [1982])
2. ID.; ID.; ID.; REORGANIZATION, VALID WHEN PURSUED IN GOOD FAITH; CASE AT BAR. Nothing is better settled in our law than that
the abolition of an office within the competence of a legitimate body if done in good faith suffers from no infirmity. Two questions
therefore arise: (1) was the abolition carried out by a legitimate body?; and (2) was it done in good faith? There is no dispute over the
authority to carry out a valid reorganization in any branch or agency of the Government. Under Section 9, Article XVII of the 1973
Constitution. The power to reorganize is, however; not absolute. We have held in Dario vs. Mison that reorganizations in this jurisdiction
have been regarded as valid provided they are pursued in good faith. This court has pronounced that if the newly created offi ce has
substantially new, different or additional functions, duties or powers, so that it may be said in fact to create an office different from the
one abolished, even though it embraces all or some of the duties of the old office it will be considered as an aboli tion of one office
and the creation of a new or different one. The same is true if one office is abolished and its duties, for reasons of economy are given
to an existing officer or office. Executive Order No. 649 was enacted to improve the services and better systematize the operation of
the Land Registration Commission. A reorganization is carried out in good faith if it is for the purpose of economy or to make
bureaucracy more efficient. To this end, the requirement of Bar membership to qualify for key positions in the NALTDRA was imposed to
meet the changing circumstances and new development of the times. Private respondent Garcia who formerly held the position of
Deputy Register of Deeds II did not have such qualification. It is thus clear that she cannot hold any key position in the NALTDRA, The
additional qualification was not intended to remove her from office. Rather, it was a criterion imposed concomitant with a valid
reorganization measure.
3. ID.; ID.; ID.; THERE IS NO VESTED PROPERTY RIGHT TO BE RE-EMPLOYED IN A REORGANIZED OFFICE; CASE AT BAR. There is no such
thing as a vested interest or an estate in an office, or even an absolute right to hold it. Except constitutional offices whi ch provide for
special immunity as regards salary and tenure, no one can be said to have any vested right in an office or its salary. None of the
exceptions to this rule are obtaining in this case. To reiterate, the position which private respondent Garcia would like to occupy anew
was abolished pursuant to Executive Order No. 649, a valid reorganization measure. There is no vested property right to be re
employed in a reorganized office. Not being a member of the Bar, the minimum requirement to qualify under the reorganization law
for permanent appointment as Deputy Register of Deeds II, she cannot be reinstated to her former position without violating the
express mandate of the law.
D E C I S I O N
CAMPOS, JR., J p:
The sole issue for our consideration in this case is whether or not membership in the bar, which is the qualification requirement
prescribed for appointment to the position of Deputy Register of Deeds under Section 4 of Executive Order No. 649 (Reorganizi ng the
Land Registration Commission (LRC) into the National Land Titles and Deeds Registration Administration or NALTDRA) should be required
of and/or applied only to new applicants and not to those who were already in the service of the LRC as deputy register of deeds at
the time of the issuance and implementation of the abovesaid Executive Order.
The facts, as succinctly stated in the Resolution ** of the Civil Service Commission, are as follows:
"The records show that in 1977, petitioner Garcia, a Bachelor of Laws graduate and a first grade civil service eligible was appointed
Deputy Register of Deeds VII under permanent status. Said position was later reclassified to Deputy Register of Deeds III pursuant to PD
1529, to which position, petitioner was also appointed under permanent status up to September 1984. She was for two years, more or
less, designated as Acting Branch Register of Deeds of Meycauayan, Bulacan. By virtue of Executive Order No. 649 (which took effect
on February 9, 1981) which authorized the restructuring of the Land Registration Commission to National Land Titles and Deeds
Registration Administration and regionalizing the Offices of the Registers therein, petitioner Garcia was issued an appointment as
Deputy Register of Deeds II on October 1, 1984, under temporary status, for not being a member of the Philippine Bar. She appealed to
the Secretary of Justice but her request was denied. Petitioner Garcia moved for reconsideration but her motion remained unacted.
On October 23, 1984, petitioner Garcia was administratively charged with Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service. While
said case was pending decision, her temporary appointment as such was renewed in 1985. In a Memorandum dated October 30,
1986, the then Minister, now Secretary, of Justice notified petitioner Garcia of the termination of her services as Deputy Register of
Deeds II on the ground that she was "receiving bribe money". Said Memorandum of Termination which took effect on February 9, 1987,
was the subject of an appeal to the Inter-Agency Review Committee which in turn referred the appeal to the Merit Systems Protection
Board (MSPB).
In its Order dated July 6, 1987, the MSPB dropped the appeal of petitioner Garcia on the ground that since the termination of her
services was due to the expiration of her temporary appointment, her separation is in order. Her motion for reconsideration was denied
on similar ground." 1
However, in its Resolution 2 dated June 30, 1988, the Civil Service Commission directed that private respondent Garcia be restored to
her position as Deputy Register of Deeds II or its equivalent in the NALTDRA. It held that "under the vested right theory the new
requirement of BAR membership to qualify for permanent appointment as Deputy Register of Deeds II or higher as mandated under
said Executive Order, would not apply to her (private respondent Garcia) but only to the filling up of vacant lawyer positions on or after
February 9, 1981, the date said Executive Order took effect." 3 A fortiori, since private respondent Garcia had been holding the position
of Deputy Register of Deeds II from 1977 to September 1984, she should not be affected by the operation on February 1, 1981 of
Executive Order No. 649.
Petitioner NALTDRA filed the present petition to assail the validity of the above Resolution of the Civil Service Commission. It contends
that Sections 8 and 10 of Executive Order No. 649 abolished all existing positions in the LRC and transferred their functions to the
appropriate new offices created by said Executive Order, which newly created offices required the issuance of new appointments to
qualified office holders. Verily, Executive Order No. 649 applies to private respondent Garcia, and not being a member of the Bar, she
cannot be reinstated to her former position as Deputy Register of Deeds II.
We find merit in the petition.
Executive Order No. 649 authorized the reorganization of the Land Registration Commission (LRC) into the National Land Titles and
Deeds Registration Administration (NALTDRA). It abolished all the positions in the now defunct LRC and required new appointments to
be issued to all employees of the NALTDRA.
The question of whether or not a law abolishes an office is one of legislative intent about which there can be no controversy
whatsoever if there is an explicit declaration in the law itself. 4 A closer examination of Executive Order No. 649 which authorized the
reorganization of the Land Registration Commission (LRC) into the National Land Titles and Deeds Registration Administration
(NALTDRA), reveals that said law in express terms, provided for the abolition of existing positions, to wit:
Sec. 8. Abolition of Existing Positions in the Land Registration Commission . . .
All structural units in the Land Registration Commission and in the registries of deeds, and all Positions therein shall cease to exist from
the date specified in the implementing order to be issued by the President pursuant to the preceding paragraph. Their pertinent
functions, applicable appropriations, records, equipment and property shall be transferred to the appropriate staff or offices therein
created. (Emphasis Supplied.)
Thus, without need of any interpretation, the law mandates that from the moment an implementing order is issued, all positions in the
Land Registration Commission are deemed non-existent. This, however, does not mean removal. Abolition of a position does not
involve or mean removal for the reason that removal implies that the post subsists and that one is merely separated therefrom. 5 After
abolition, there is in law no occupant. Thus, there can be no tenure to speak of. It is in this sense that from the standpoint of strict law,
the question of any impairment of security of tenure does not arise. 6
Nothing is better settled in our law than that the abolition of an office within the competence of a legitimate body if done in good faith
suffers from no infirmity. Two questions therefore arise: (1) was the abolition carried out by a legitimate body?; and (2) was it done in
good faith?
There is no dispute over the authority to carry out a valid reorganization in any branch or agency of the Government. Under Section 9,
Article XVII of the 1973 Constitution, the applicable law at that time:
Sec. 9. All officials and employees in the existing Government of the Republic of the Philippines shall continue in office until otherwise
provided by law or decreed by the incumbent President of the Philippines, but all officials whose appointments are by this Constitution
vested in the Prime Minister shall vacate their respective offices upon the appointment and qualifications of their successors.
The power to reorganize is, however; not absolute. We have held in Dario vs. Mison 7 that reorganizations in this jurisdiction have been
regarded as valid provided they are pursued in good faith. This court has pronounced 8 that if the newly created office has
substantially new, different or additional functions, duties or powers, so that it may be said in fact to create an office different from the
one abolished, even though it embraces all or some of the duties of the old office it will be considered as an aboliti on of one office
and the creation of a new or different one. The same is true if one office is abolished and its duties, for reasons of economy are given
to an existing officer or office.
Executive Order No. 649 was enacted to improve the services and better systematize the operation of the Land Registration
Commission. 9 A reorganization is carried out in good faith if it is for the purpose of economy or to make bureaucracy more efficient. 10
To this end, the requirement of Bar membership to qualify for key positions in the NALTDRA was imposed to meet the changing
circumstances and new development of the times. 11 Private respondent Garcia who formerly held the position of Deputy Register of
Deeds II did not have such qualification. It is thus clear that she cannot hold any key position in the NALTDRA, The additional
qualification was not intended to remove her from office. Rather, it was a criterion imposed concomitant with a valid reorganization
measure.
A final word, on the "vested right theory" advanced by respondent Civil Service Commission. There is no such thing as a vested interest
or an estate in an office, or even an absolute right to hold it. Except constitutional offices which provide for special immunity as regards
salary and tenure, no one can be said to have any vested right in an office or its salary. 12 None of the exceptions to this rule are
obtaining in this case.
To reiterate, the position which private respondent Garcia would like to occupy anew was abolished pursuant to Executive Order No.
649, a valid reorganization measure. There is no vested property right to be re employed in a reorganized office. Not being a member
of the Bar, the minimum requirement to qualify under the reorganization law for permanent appointment as Deputy Register of Deeds
II, she cannot be reinstated to her former position without violating the express mandate of the law.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, We hereby GRANT the petition and SET ASIDE the questioned Resolution of the Civil Service
Commission reinstating private respondent to her former position as Deputy Register of Deeds II or its equivalent in the National Land
Titles and Deeds Registration Administration.
SO ORDERED.
Narvasa, C .J ., Cruz, Feliciano, Padilla, Bidin, Regalado, Davide, Jr., Romero, Nocon, Bellosillo, Melo and Quiason, JJ ., concur.

Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC

G.R. No. 101251 November 5, 1992
ELISEO A. SINON, petitioner,
vs.
CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION, DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE-REORGANIZATION APPEALS BOARD AND JUANA BANAN, respondents.

CAMPOS, JR., J.:
This petition for certiorari seeks to annul the following Resolutions of the public respondents Civil Service Commission (the "CSC") * and
Department of Agriculture Reorganization Appeals Board (the "DARAB"), ** to wit:
1. Resolution No. 97 dated August 23, 1989, issued by respondent DARAB which revoked petitioner's permanent
appointment as Municipal Agriculture Officer (MAO) and appointed, in his stead, private respondent Juana Banan
(Rollo 17);
2. Resolution dated February 8, 1991 issued by the respondent CSC affirming the aforementioned Resolution of
respondent DARAB (Rollo 22);
3. Resolution dated July 11, 1991 issued by the respondent CSC which denied petitioner's motion for the
reconsideration of the respondent Commission's Resolution dated February 8, 1991.
1

The antecedent facts are as follows:
Prior to the reorganization of the then Minister of Agriculture and Food (the "MAF"), the private respondent Juana Banan was the
incumbent Municipal Agricultural Officer (MAO) of the aforesaid Minister in Region II, Cagayan, while the petitioner Eliseo Sinon
occupied the position of Fisheries Extension Specialist (FES) II in the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) in the same
region.
However, the reorganization of the MAF into the Department of Agriculture (the "DA"), with the issuance of Executive Order No. 116
dated 30 January 1987, called for the evaluation of the following employees for twenty nine position of MAO in Region II, Cagayan.
The list as prepared by the Placement Committee included the herein petitioner Sinon but excluded the respondent Banan:
1. Binoya, Vicente 76.20%
2. Cabana, Isidro 75.01%
3. Sebastian, Alice 74.18%
4. Zingapan, Benjamin 70.73%
5. Guzman, Wilhemina de la P. 70.50%
6. Gervacio, Agnes 69.86%
7. Somera, Hilario S. 68.13%
8. Tolentino, Julian R. 67.64%
9. Guillermo, Pedro 67.22%
10. Tambio, Rodolfo 67.00%
11. Aquino, Martina 66.94%
12. Bassig, Pio P. 66.84%
13. Rumpon, Danilo P. 65.61%
14. Zareno, Bernardo 65.57%
15. Madrid, Angel S. 65.57%
16. Callangan, Napoleon 65.45%
17. Fiesta, Felicisimo 65.29%
18. Alvarez, Benefranco 64.99%
19. Baggayan, Samuel O. 64.42%
20. Umbay, Pedro T. 64.01%
21. De la Cruz, Florencio M. 62.07%
22. Leonador, Ernesto T. 61.88%
23. Miguel, Jose 61.86%
24. Berlan, Herminia C. 61.76%
25. Soliman, Clemente 61.52%
26. Llopis, Lino 61.47%
27. Baliuag, Felicidad 61.39%
28. Aresta, Leticia 60.67%
29. Sinon, Eliseo A. 60.66%
2

(Emphasis supplied)
Thus, respondents Banan filed an appeal with the DARAB for re-evaluation of the qualification of all those included in the
aforementioned list made by the Placement Committee.
On August 23, 1989, the DARAB released Resolution No. 97 in which the ranking for 29 MAO prepared by the Placement Committee
was re-evaluated as follows:
1. Binoya, Vicente 76.20%
2. Cabana, Isidro 75.01%
3. Sebastian, Alice 72.18%
4. Zingapan, Benjamin 70.73%
5. Guzman, Wilhemina de la P. 70.50%
6. Gervacio, Agnes 70.04%
7. Somera, Hilario S. 68.13%
8. Tolentino, Julian Jr. 67.22%
9. Guillermo, Pedro 67.22%
10. Tambio, Rodolfo 67.00%
11. Aquino, Martina D. 66.94%
12. Bassig, Pio P. 66.84%
13. Rumpon, Danilo P. 65.61%
14. Madrid, Angel 65.57%
15. Callangan, Napoleon 65.45%
16. Fiesta, Felicisimo 65.29%
17. Alvarez, Benefranco 64.99%
18. Baggayan, Samuel O. 64.42%
19. Umbay, Pedro T. 64.01%
20. De la Cruz, Florencio M. 62.07%
21. Leonador, Ernesto T. 61.88%
22. Miguel, Jose L. 61.86%
23. Berlan, Herminia C. 61.76%
24. Soliman, Clemente 61.52%
25. Zareno, Bernardo 61.50%
26. Llopis, Lino 61.47%
27. Baliuag, Felicidad 61.39%
28. Aresta, Leticia 60.67%
29. Banan, Juana 59.32%
2

(Emphasis supplied)
In this re-evaluation, petitioner Sinon was displaced by the respondent Banan and this same resolution was duly approved by the
Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Carlos G. Dominguez, who also affixed his signature on the same date.
However, on August 30, 1988, Sinon received an appointment as MAO for Region II in Cagayan as approved by Regional Director
Gumersindo D. Lasam on the basis of the first evaluation made by the Placement Committee.
Thus, Sinon filed an appeal docketed as Civil Service Case No. 573 on November 22, 1989 to the CSC. This appeal was granted mainly
for two reasons: first, the respondent DARAB failed to file its Comment within the period required; and second, the evaluation of the
qualification of the employees is a question of fact which the appointing authority or the Placement Committee assisting him is in a
better position to determine. Hence, the Resolution dated 28 February 1989 of the DARAB was set aside.
4

On March 19, 1990, Banan filed a Motion for Reconsideration in which she pitted her qualifications against Sinon for the last slot in the
29 available MAO positions. At the same time, she pointed out that to allow the findings of the Placement Committee to supersede the
DARAB resolution which the Secretary of Agriculture had approved would be tantamount to giving precedence to the Placement
Committee over the head of the agency.
Finally, on February 8, 1991, CSC, after reviewing the Comment filed by the DARAB which had not been considered earlier in the Civil
Service Case No. 573, the CSC granted respondent Banan's Motion for Reconsideration and gave due course to her appointment by
the DARAB.
On March 21, 1991, Sinon filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the February 8, 1991 Resolution which however was denied by the CSC
in its assailed Resolution dated July 11, 1991.
According to the respondent CSC:
Mr. Sinon strongly argued that the findings of the Placement Committee on the qualifications of the parties should
be accorded deference and greater weight over that of the RAB. Under the Placement Committee's evaluation,
Mr. Sinon garnered 60.66 while Ms. Juana Banan earned 57.32 after assessing the contending parties qualification in
education, relevant experience, eligibility and other factors. Following the request of several parties for reevaluation,
the RAB in their decision gave Mr. Sinon 57.66 while Ms. Banan obtained 59.32. Seemingly the findings of the two
bodies are in conflict. Mr. Sinon argues that the findings of the Placement Committee should prevail since it is
specially mandated by RA 6656.
We disagree. The Placement Committee's function is recommendatory in nature. The agency's Reorganization Appeals Board was
specially created by the Circular of the Office of the President dated October 2, 1987 and conferred with authority to review appeals
and complaints of officials and employees affected by the reorganization. the decision of the agency RAB has the imprimatur of the
Secretary of that agency and is therefore controlling in matters of and is therefore controlling in matters of appointment. Under this
principle, the decision of the DARAB in this case enjoys precedence over the Placement Committee.
5

Hence, this petition was filed with a prayer for a writ of preliminary injunction and/or restraining order to enjoin the execution of the
assailed resolutions.
Without giving due course to the petition for a writ of preliminary injunction, the court required the parties to file their respective
Comments.
6

On 12 November 1991, the Court gave due course to the petition and required the parties to submit their respective Memoranda.
7

The main issue for Our consideration is this: whether or not the CSC committed grave abuse discretion in reviewing and re-evaluating
the ring or qualification of the petitioner Sinon.
The arguments of the petitioner can be summed up as follows:
1). In issuing the Resolution of 8 February 1991, the CSC in effect revoked the appointment that the petitioner
received as early as 30 August 1989 and which was deemed permanent by virtue of the approval of the Regional
Director of the Department of Agriculture:
2). In giving petitioner a rating of only 57.66%, 8 from his previous rating of 60.66% and at the same time according a
rating of 59.32% to private respondent from a rating of only 57.32%, the CSC departed from its power which is limited
only to that of "review", and hence encroached upon the power of appointment exclusively lodged in the
appointment authority;
3) In giving due course to the appointment of respondent Banan in its Resolution of 8 February 1991, CSC was
directing the appointment of a substitute of their own choice when the power to appoint was exclusively lodged in
the appointing authority.
We rule as follows.
By grave abuse of discretion is meant such capricious and whimsical exercise of judgment as is equivalent to lack of jurisdiction. The
abuse of discretion must be patent and gross as to amount to an evasion of positive duty or a virtual refusal to perform a duty enjoined
by law, or to act at all in contemplation of law, as where the power is exercised in an arbitrary and despotic manner by reason of
passion or hostility.
9

Contrary to the allegations of the petitioner, We do not find any evidence of grave abuse of discretion on the part of the CSC when it
issued Resolution dated 8 February 1991 which in effect approved the appointment of respondent Banan over petitioner Sinon.
With the reorganization of the MAF into the DA with Executive order No. 116, it became imperative to "protect the security of tenure of
Civil Service Officers and employees in the implementation of government reorganization". Thus, Congress passed Republic Act No.
6656.
10

It was under the same law of R.A. 6656 that the Placement Committee was created:
Section 6. In order that the best qualified and mot deserving persons shall be appointed in any reorganization, there
shall be created a Placement Committee in each department or agency to assist the appointing authority in the
judicious selection and placement of personnel. The Committee shall consist of two (2) members appointed by the
head of the department or agency, a representative of the appointing authority, and two (2) members duly elected
by the employees holding positions in the first and second levels of the career service: Provided, that if there is a
registered employee association with a majority of the employees as members, that employee association shall also
have a representative in the Committee: Provided, Further, that immediately upon the approval of the staffing
pattern of the department or agency concerned, such staffing pattern shall be made known to all officers and
employees of the agency who shall be invited to apply for any of the positions authorized therein. Such application
shall be considered by the committee in the placement and selection of personnel. (Emphasis supplied).
To "assist" mean to lend an aid to,
11
or to contribute effort in the complete accomplishment of an ultimate purpose intended to be
effected by those engaged.
12

In contrast, to "recommend"
13
is to present one's advice or choice as having one's approval or to represent or urge as advisable or
expedient. It involves the Idea that another has the final decision.
Clearly, the Placement Committee was charged with the duty of exercising the same discretionary functions as the appointing
authority in the judicious selection and placement of personnel when the law empowered it to "assist" the appointment authority.
The same law also allows any officer or employee aggrieved by the appointments to file an appeal with the appointing authority who
shall made a decision within thirty (30) days from the filing thereof. If the same employee is still not satisfied with the decision of the
appointing authority, he may further appeal within ten (10) days from the receipt thereof the CSC.
14

In the case at bar, the Circular dated October 2, 1987 of the Office of the President created the agency Reorganization Appeals
Board to address the problem of the employees affected by the reorganizations.
The foregoing legal measures spell out the remedies of aggrieved parties which make it impossible to give the status of final ity to any
appointment until all protests or oppositions are duly heard.
Thus, while it is true that the appointment paper received by petitioner Sinon on 30 August 1989 for the position of MAO had not
conferred any permanent status and was still subject to the following conditions attached to any appointment in the civil service:
Provided that there is no pending administrative case against the appointee, no pending protest against the
appointment, nor any decision by competent authority that will adversely affect the approval of the appointment
.
15

Hence, for as long as the re-evaluation of the qualification filed by Banan was pending, the petitioner cannot claim that he had been
issued with a "complete" appointment. Neither is there any point in asserting that his appointment had "cured" whatever changes was
subsequently recommended by the DARAB.
16

The fact that the DARAB is capable of re-evaluating the findings of the Placement Committed only to find that Sinon is not qualified
should no be taken as a grave abuse of discretion.
We cannot subscribe to petitioner Sinon's insistence that the public respondent CSC had disregarded the findings of the Placement
Committee. The truth is, these findings of the Placement Committee. The truth is, these findings were re-evaluated and the report after
such re-evaluation was submitted to and approved by the Secretary of Agriculture. The CSC affirmed the findings of the DARAB.
Because of all the foregoing circumstances, the jurisprudence cited by the petitioner Sinon appears to be incorrect.
17

Neither do we find in the Resolution of 8 February 1991, any statement by the CSC directing the appointment of the respondent Banan.
Hence, there was no directive from the CSC that may be misinterpreted as a usurpation of any appointing power.
18

Besides, in affirming the appointment of Banan as recommended by the DARAB and approved by the Secretary of Agriculture, the
CSC is only being consistent with the law. Section 4 or R.A. 6656 mandates that officers and employees holding permanent
appointments shall be given preference for appointment to the new positions in the approved staffing pattern comparable to their
former positions. Also, the term incumbent officer and the privileges generally accorded to them would more aptly refer to Banan and
not to petitioner Sinon whose appointment was never confirmed completely.
19
There is no dispute that the position of MAO in the old
staffing pattern is most comparable to the MAO in the new staffing pattern.
Finally, the Solicitor General in behalf of the CSC correctly noted that the petitioner Sinon had conveniently omitted the then Secretary
of Agriculture who had affixed his approval on the findings of the DARAB. Petitioner Sinon knew fully well that as head of the agency,
the Secretary of Agriculture was the appointing authority.
It must be recalled that the whole purpose of reorganization is that is it is a "process of restructuring the bureaucracy's organizational
and functional set-up, to make it more viable in terms of the economy, efficiency, effectiveness and make it more responsive to the
needs of its public clientele as authorized by law."
20
For as long as the CSC confines itself within the limits set out by law and does not
encroach upon the prerogatives endowed to other authorities, this Court must sustain the Commission.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED with costs against the petitioner.
SO ORDERED.
Gutierrez, Jr., Cruz, Feliciano, Padilla, Regalado, Davide, Romero, Nocon and Bellosillo, JJ., concur.
Narvasa, C.J. and Medialdea, JJ., is on leave.
Bidin, concur in the result.



Separate Opinions

GRIO-AQUINO, J., concurring:
In the result only for we ruled in Bustamante vs. Executive Secretary 186 SCRA 109 and Pari -an vs. Civil Service Commission, 202 SCRA
772 that the reorganization of the Department of Agriculture was null and void.

Separate Opinions
GRIO-AQUINO, J., concurring:

Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. 93355 April 7, 1992
LUIS B. DOMINGO, petitioner,
vs.
DEVELOPMENT BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES and CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION, respondents.

REGALADO, J.:
This special civil action impugns the resolution
1
of respondent Civil Service Commission (CSC) promulgated on April 10, 1990 in CSC
Case No. 473 setting aside its earlier resolution of November 27, 1989 and affirming the separation of petitioner Luis B. Domingo as
Senior Training and Career Development Officer of the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP).
Petitioner was employed by DBP as Senior Training and Career Development Officer on permanent status from February, 1979 to
December 1986.
On December 3, 1986, Executive Order No 81 (The Revised Charter of DBP) was passed authorizing the reorganization of DBP in this
wise:
Sec. 32. Authority to Reorganize. In view of the new scope of operations of the Bank, a reorganization of the Bank
and a reduction in force are hereby authorized to achieve simplicity and economy in operations, including
adopting a new staffing pattern to suit the reduced operations envisioned. The formulation of the program of
reorganization shall be completed within six months after the approval of this Charter, and the full implementation of
the reorganization program within thirty months thereafter.
Further, Sections 33 and 34 thereof provide:
Sec. 33. Implementing Details; Organization and Staffing of the Bank.
xxx xxx xxx
In the implementation of the reorganization of the Bank, as authorized under the preceding section, qualified
personnel of the Bank may be appointed to appropriate positions in the new staffing pattern thereof and those not
so appointed are deemed separated from the service. No preferential or priority rights shall be given to or enjoyed
by any officer or personnel of the Bank for appointment to any position in the new staffing pattern nor shall any
officer or personnel be considered as having prior or vested rights with respect to retention in the Bank or in any
position as may have been created in its new staffing pattern, even if he should be the incumbent of a similar
position therein.
xxx xxx xxx
Sec. 34. Separation Benefits. All those who shall retire from the service or are separated therefrom on account of
the reorganization of the Bank under the provisions of this Charter shall be entitled to all gratuities and
benefits provided for under existing laws and/or supplementary retirement plans adopted by and effective in the
Bank: . . .
Pursuant thereto, DBP issued Board Resolution No. 304-87 allowing the issuance of temporary appointments to all DBP personnel in order
to fully implement the reorganization. The resolution states in part:
It is understood that pursuant to Section 32 of the new DBP Charter full implementation of the reorganization
program shall be completed within a period of thirty-six (36) months from the approval of this Charter. In this
connection, the plantilla approved and appointments issued are purely interim and the Bank is reserving its right to
put in place the permanent structure of the Bank as well as the permanent appointments thereto until the end of
the 36-month period.
2

In effect, said resolution authorized the issuance of temporary appointments to all DBP personnel to allow maximum flexibility in the
implementation of the reorganization. Such temporary appointments issued had a maximum period of twelve (12) months during
which period the performance of the incumbents were assessed on the basis of the results of their evaluation.
With the passage of Executive Order No. 81 and Board Resolution No. 304 87, DBP undertook the evaluation and comparative
assessment of all its personnel under the CSC approved New Performance Appraisal System, a peer and control rating process which
served as an assessment tool of DBP's screening process.
Petitioner Domingo was issued a temporary appointment on January 2, 1987 for a period of one (1) year, which was renewed for
another period up to November 30, 1988. Thereafter, in a memorandum
3
dated November 23, 1988 issued by the Final Review
Committee, petitioner got a performance rating of "below average," by reason of which his appointment was "made to lapse."
Consequently, petitioner, together with a certain Evangeline Javier, filed with the CSC a joint verified complaint
4
against DBP for illegal
dismissal. The complainants therein alleged that their dismissal constituted a violation of the Civil Service Law against the issuance of
temporary appointments to permanent employees, as well as of their right to security of tenure and due process.
On November 27, 1989, CSC issued a resolution
5
in CSC Case No. 473 directing "the reappointment of Mr. Domingo and Ms. Javier as
Senior Training and Career Development Officer and Research Analyst or any such equivalent rank under the staffing pattern of DBP."
The order for reappointment was premised on the findings of the CSC that "(t)he action of the DBP to issue temporary appointments to
all DBP personnel in order to allow for the maximum flexibility in evaluating the performance of incumbents is not in accord with civil
service law rules," in that "(t)o issue a temporary appointment to one who has been on permanent status before will deprive the
employee of benefits accorded permanent employees and will adversely affect his security of tenure," aside from the fact that such
an act is contrary to Section 25 (a) of Presidential Decree No. 807.
DBP filed a motion for reconsideration
6
on December 27, 1989 alleging, inter alia, that the issuance of temporary appointments to all
the DBP employees was purely an interim arrangement; that in spite of the temporary appointment, they continued to enjoy the salary,
allowances and other benefits corresponding to permanent employees; that there can be no impairment of herein petitioner's security
of tenure since the new DBP charter expressly provides that "qualified personnel of the bank may be appointed to appropriate
positions in the new staffing pattern and those not so appointed are deemed separated from the service;" that petitioner was
evaluated and comparatively assessed under a rating system approved by the respondent commission; and that petitioner cannot
claim that he was denied due process of law considering that, although several appeals were received by the Final Review
Committee from other employees similarly situated, herein petitioner never appealed his rating or the extension of his temporary
appointment although he was advised to do so by his direct supervisor.
On April 10, 1990, CSC rendered the questioned resolution setting aside its previous decision and affirming the separation of herein
petitioner. In so ruling, CSC explained that:
While it is true that this Commission ruled that the issuance of temporary appointment to all DBP personnel in order to
allow "for maximum flexibility" in evaluating the performance of incumbents is not in accord with civil service laws
and rules, however it cannot lose sight of the fact that appellants are among those who indeed got a below
average rating (unsatisfactory) when their performance were reevaluated and comparatively reassessed by the
Final Review Committee of the Bank approved by the Vice Chairman.
xxx xxx xxx
In effect, the determinative factor for retention and the separation from the service is the individual performance
rating.
While the Commission supports the principle of merit and fitness and strongly protects the security of tenure of civil
service officials and employees which are the essence of careerism in the civil service, it does not however, sanction
the reappointment of said officials and employees who have fallen short of the performance necessary in order to
maintain at all times efficiency and effectiveness in the Office.
It bears stressing that the DBP submitted the records and documents in support of its allegations that Mr. Domingo
and Ms. Javier have indeed got(ten) a below average rating (unsatisfactory) during the filing of the instant motion
for reconsideration. Had DBP promptly submitted the records/documents supporting its allegations, this Commission
at the outset should have sustained the separation of the appellants from the service on ground of poor
performance (below average rating, unsatisfactory) after the reassessment and re-evaluation by the Bank through
the Final Review Committee. The CSC could not have guessed that such was the basis of the DBP's termination of
Domingo and Javier until the papers were submitted to it. . . .
It must be pointed out that appellants' separation from the service was the lapse of their temporary appointment.
The non-extension or non-issuance of permanent appointments were principally based on their below average
rating (unsatisfactory) performance after they were reevaluated and comparatively reassessed by the Final Review
Committee of the Bank. After all, the 1986 DBP Revised Charter (E.O. No. 81) gives the Bank a wide latitude of
discretion in the reappointment of its personnel, subject to existing civil service laws, rules and regulations.
There is no doubt that the DBP conducted a reevaluation and comparative reassessment of its employees for
placement/retention (for permanent) and for separation from the service and found out that appellants are
wanting of performance, having been rated as "Below Average."
7

Hence this petition, whereby petitioner raises the following issues:
1. Petitioner's tenure of office was violated by respondents;
2. Petitioner was not afforded a day in court and was denied procedural due process in the unilateral evaluation by
his peers of his efficiency ratings for the years 1987 and 1988;
3. Average and below average efficiency ratings are not valid grounds for termination of the service of petitioner;
4. Section 5 of the rules implementing Republic Act No. 6656 is repugnant to the constitutional mandate that "no
officer or employee of the Civil Service be removed or suspended except for causeprovided by law;" and
5. Section 16, Article XVIII, Transitory Provisions of the New Constitution was also violated by respondents. 8
I. Petitioner puts in issue the validity of the reorganization implemented by DBP in that the same violates his right to security of tenure. He
contends that government reorganization cannot be a valid ground to terminate the services of government employees, pursuant to
the ruling in the case of Dario vs. Mison, et al.
9

This statement of petitioner is incomplete and inaccurate, if not outright erroneous. Either petitioner misunderstood or he totally
overlooked what was stated in the aforecited decision which held that "reorganizations in this jurisdiction have been regarded as
valid provided they are pursued in good faith." As we said in Dario:
Reorganizations in this jurisdiction have been regarded as valid provided they are pursued in good faith. As a
general rule, a reorganization is carried out in "good faith" if it is for the purpose of economy or to make bureaucracy
more efficient. In that event, no dismissal (in case of dismissal) or separation actually occurs because the position
itself ceases to exist. And in that case, security of tenure would not be a Chinese wall.
Clearly, from our pronouncements in Dario, reorganization is a recognized valid ground for separation of civil service employees,
subject only to the condition that it be done in good faith. No less than the Constitution itself in Section 16 of the Transitory Provisions,
together with Sections 33 and 34 of Executive Order No. 81 and Section 9 of Republic Act No. 6656, support this conclusion wi th the
declaration that all those not so appointed in the implementation of said reorganization shall be deemed separated from the service
with the concomitant recognition of their entitlement to appropriate separation benefits and/or retirement plans of the reorganized
government agency.
The facts of this case, particularly the evaluation process adopted by DBP, bear out the existence of good faith in the course of
reorganization.
As a tool in the assessment process, a bank-wide peer and control rating process was implemented. Under this process, the peers and
supervisors rated the DBP employees.
10

To make the reorganization as open, representative and fair as possible, two principal groups were formed: (1) the Group Placement
Screening Committee (GPSC) and (2) the Central Placement Screening Committee (CPSC), to review all recommendations (for
retention or separation) prior to submissions to the Chairman an the Board of Directors. The members of the two screening committees
were the Department and Group Heads and representatives from the Career Officials Association and the DBP Employees Union. The
CPSC was further represented by the DBP Civil Service Officer, who sat as consultant to help resolve questions on Civil Servi ce rules and
regulations.
As an assessment tool to the Bank's screening process, a peer and control rating process was implemented bank-wide, the results of
which were used as a gauge to determine the suitability of an employee to stay in the Bank. Through this rating, the Bank determines
the value of the individual employee to the Bank with the help of his peers (peer rating) and his supervisors (control
rating).
11

Also, as part of the evaluation process, a Final Review Committee, composed of the group, department or unit head, the heads of the
Human Resource Center and of the Personnel Services, and representatives from the Career Officials Association and the Employees
Union, was created to screen further and to recommend the change in status of the employee's appointment from temporary to
permanent beginning 1988. For the rank and file level, the committee was chaired by the Vice-Chairman while the officer level was
presided over by the Chairman of the Bank.
12

The performance rating system used and adopted by DBP was duly approved by the Civil Service Commission. Herein petitioner was
evaluated and comparatively assessed under this approved rating system. This is shown by the memorandum to the Vice-Chairman
from the DBP Final Review Committee wherein petitioner, among other DBP employees, was evaluated and rated on his performance,
and was shown to have gotten a rating of "below average."
13

In the comment
14
filed by DBP with the CSC, respondent bank explained the procedure it adopted in the evaluation of herein
petitioner, together with one Evangeline Javier, to wit:
xxx xxx xxx
4. During the second phase of the screening process, the Bank used several instruments for determining proficiency
or skills on the job. More than skills, however, the evaluation also covered trait factors to determine a positive work
attitude. The Bank placed a premium on work attitude because it believes that technical and professional skills can
easily be acquired by an ordinary normal individual as long as he has the right attitude towards learning.
5. These attitudes are part of the new corporate culture outlined in the corporate philosophy instituted for the Bank
and disseminated thru the various corporate culture seminars, monthly tertulias, speeches of the Chairman and
numerous various internal communications and bulletins. One of the most important values emphasized was
TEAMWORK due to the very lean personnel force that the Bank was left with and the competition it has to contend
with in the industry.
6. Mr. Domingo and Miss Javier were subjected to this rating process as all other employees of the Bank were.
xxx xxx xxx
8. Mr. Domingo and Miss Javier were recommended for a renewal of temporary status after assessment of their
performance because of several indications of lack of skill and their inability to work with others in the department
where they were stationed. In a compassionate stance, it was considered in the Central Personnel Committee to
transfer them to another department or unit of the Bank where they may be more effective and productive, but
they expressed preference to stay in the training unit of the Bank, the Human Resource Center.
9. Along with others whose performance for 1987 was found wanting, Mr. Domingo and Miss Javier were
recommended for reappointment as temporary for another period from January to November 1988 to give the Bank
sufficient time to consider their cases. However, in an evaluation of performance for all extendees in November
1988, Mr. Domingo and Miss Javier were again found wanting having both acquired a rating of "Below Average."
In addition, it is not disputed that DBP now has less than 2,000 employees from a former high level of around 4,000 employees in 1986.
And, under Section 27 of Presidential Decree No. 807, the Government is authorized to lay off employees in case of a reduction due to
reorganization, thus:
Sec. 27. Reduction in Force. Whenever it becomes necessary because of lack of work or funds or due to a
change in the scope or nature of an agency's program, or as a result of reorganization, to reduce the staff of any
department or agency, those in the same group or class of positions in one or more agencies within the particular
department or agency wherein the reduction is to be effected shall be reasonably compared in terms of relative
fitness, efficiency and length of service, and those found to be least qualified for the remaining positions shall be laid
off.
Lastly, petitioner failed to invoke the presence of any of the circumstances enumerated under Section 2 of Republic Act No. 6656
which would show or tend to show the existence of bad faith in the implementation of the reorganization.
Quintessentially, the reorganization having been conducted in accordance with the mandate of Dario, it can safely be concluded
that indeed the reorganization was attended by good faith, ergo, valid. The dismissal of herein petitioner is a removal for cause which,
therefore, does not violate his security of tenure.
As a final note on this issue, we quote with approval the statement of Mme. Justice Ameurfina A. Melencio-Herrera in her dissenting
opinion in the above-cited case:
To be sure, the reorganization could affect the tenure of members of the career service as defined in Section 5,
Article IV of Presidential Decree No. 807, and may even result in the separation from office of some meritorious
employees. But even then, the greater good of the greatest number and the right of the citizenry to a good
government, and as they themselves have mandated through the vehicle of Proclamation No. 3, provide the
justification for the said injury to the individual. In terms of values, the interest of an employee to security of tenure
must yield to the interest of the entire populace and to an efficient and honest government.
II. Petitioner also maintains that "average" and "below average" efficiency ratings are not valid grounds for his termination from the
service.
It has become a basic and primordial concern of the State to insure and promote the constitutional mandate that appointments in the
civil service shall be made only according to merit and fitness pursuant to its adopted policy of requiring public officers and employees
to serve with the highest degree of responsibility, integrity, loyalty and efficiency.
15
As a matter of fact, the development and retention
of a competent and efficient work force in the public service is considered as a primary concern of the Government.
16
Hence,
employees are selected on the basis of merit and fitness to perform the duties and assume the responsibilities of the position to which
they are appointed.
17
Concomitantly, the government has committed itself to engender a continuing program of career and
personnel development for all government employees,
18
by establishing a performance evaluation system to be administered in such
manner as to continually foster the improvement of individual employee efficiency and organizational effectiveness.
19

All these abundantly show that the State puts a premium on an individual's efficiency, merit and fitness before one is accepted into the
career service. A civil service employee's efficiency rating, therefore, is a decisive factor for his continued service with the Government.
The inescapable conclusion is that a "below average" efficiency rating is sufficient justification for the termination of a government
employee such as herein petitioner. This is the reason why, painful as it may be, petitioner's separation must be affirmed if public good
is to be subserved. In the words of respondent commission in its questioned resolution, it cannot "sanction the reappointment of said
officials and employees who have fallen short of the performance necessary in order to maintain at all times efficiency and
effectiveness in the Office."
20

III. Petitioner finally contends that where the purpose of the evaluation proceeding is to ascertain whether he should be retained or
separated from the service, it is a proceeding to determine the existence of a ground for his termination and, therefore, he should be
afforded a day in court, pursuant to the requirements of procedural due process, to defend himself against any adverse findings in the
process of evaluation of his performance.
Petitioner's contention cannot be sustained.
Section 2 of Republic Act No. 6656 provides that "no officer or employee in the career service shall be removed except for a valid
cause and after due notice and hearing." Thus, there is no question that while dismissal due to abona fide reorganization is recognized
as a valid cause, this does not justify a detraction from the mandatory requirement of notice and hearing. However, it is equally true
and it is a basic rule of due process that "what the law prohibits is not the absence of previous notice but the absolute absence thereof
and the lack of opportunity to be heard."
21
There is no violation of procedural due process even where no hearing was conducted for
as long as the party was given a chance to present his evidence and defend himself.
The records show that petitioner had the opportunity to present his side and/or to contest the results of the evaluation proceedings. In
DBP's motion for the reconsideration of the original decision of respondent commission, respondent bank averred:
It may be stated that although several appeals were received by the Final Review Committee from other
employees similarly situated (i.e., also given temporary appointments for 1988), Mr. Domingo and Miss Javier never
appealed their ratings or the extension of their temporary appointments in 1988. Even at this writing, the Bank has not
received any formal appeal from them although they were advised to do so by their direct supervisor.
22

The fact that petitioner made no appeal to the Final Review Committee was duly considered by respondent commission in resolvi ng
said motion for reconsideration and in affirming the separation of petitioner from the service, noting that "appellants Mr. Domi ngo, and
Miss Javier did not file or submit their opposition to the motion for reconsideration." Consequently, petitioner cannot, by his own
inaction, legally claim that he was denied due process of law.
Considering petitioner's years of service, despite the unfortunate result of the reorganization insofar as he is concerned, he should be
allowed separation and other retirement benefits accruing to him by reason of his termination, as provided for in Section 16, Article
XVIII of the 1987 Constitution, as well as in Section 9 of Republic Act No. 6656 and Section 34 of Executive Order No. 81.
WHEREFORE, no grave abuse of discretion having been committed by respondent Civil Service Commission, its challenged resolution of
April 10, 1990 is hereby AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED.
Melencio-Herrera, Cruz, Paras, Padilla, Bidin, Grio-Aquino, Medialdea, Davide, Jr., Romero and Nocon, JJ., concur.
Narvasa, C.J., Feliciano and Bellosillo, JJ., are on leave.


Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC

G.R. No. 115863 March 31, 1995
AIDA D. EUGENIO, petitioner,
vs.
CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION, HON. TEOFISTO T. GUINGONA, JR. & HON. SALVADOR ENRIQUEZ, JR.,respondents.

PUNO, J.:
The power of the Civil Service Commission to abolish the Career Executive Service Board is challenged in this petition for certiorari and
prohibition.
First the facts. Petitioner is the Deputy Director of the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute. She applied for a Career Executive Service
(CES) Eligibility and a CESO rank on August 2, 1993, she was given a CES eligibility. On September 15, 1993, she was recommended to
the President for a CESO rank by the Career Executive Service Board.
1

All was not to turn well for petitioner. On October 1, 1993, respondent Civil Service Commission
2
passed Resolution No. 93-4359, viz:
RESOLUTION NO. 93-4359
WHEREAS, Section 1(1) of Article IX-B provides that Civil Service shall be administered by the Civil Service Commission,
. . .;
WHEREAS, Section 3, Article IX-B of the 1987 Philippine Constitution provides that "The Civil Service Commission, as the
central personnel agency of the government, is mandated to establish a career service and adopt measures to
promote morale, efficiency, integrity, responsiveness, progresiveness and courtesy in the civil service, . . .";
WHEREAS, Section 12 (1), Title I, Subtitle A, Book V of the Administrative Code of 1987 grants the Commission the
power, among others, to administer and enforce the constitutional and statutory provisions on the merit system for all
levels and ranks in the Civil Service;
WHEREAS, Section 7, Title I, Subtitle A, Book V of the Administrative Code of 1987 Provides, among others, that The
Career Service shall be characterized by (1) entrance based on merit and fitness to be determined as far as
practicable by competitive examination, or based highly technical qualifications; (2) opportunity for advancement
to higher career positions; and (3) security of tenure;
WHEREAS, Section 8 (c), Title I, Subtitle A, Book V of the administrative Code of 1987 provides that "The third level shall
cover Positions in the Career Executive Service";
WHEREAS, the Commission recognizes the imperative need to consolidate, integrate and unify the administration of
all levels of positions in the career service.
WHEREAS, the provisions of Section 17, Title I, Subtitle A. Book V of the Administrative Code of 1987 confers on the
Commission the power and authority to effect changes in its organization as the need arises.
WHEREAS, Section 5, Article IX-A of the Constitution provides that the Civil Service Commission shall enjoy fiscal
autonomy and the necessary implications thereof;
NOW THEREFORE, foregoing premises considered, the Civil Service Commission hereby resolves to streamline
reorganize and effect changes in its organizational structure. Pursuant thereto, the Career Executive Service Board,
shall now be known as the Office for Career Executive Service of the Civil Service Commission. Accordingly, the
existing personnel, budget, properties and equipment of the Career Executive Service Board shall now form part of
the Office for Career Executive Service.
The above resolution became an impediment. to the appointment of petitioner as Civil Service Officer, Rank IV. In a letter to petitioner,
dated June 7, 1994, the Honorable Antonio T. Carpio, Chief Presidential legal Counsel, stated:
xxx xxx xxx
On 1 October 1993 the Civil Service Commission issued CSC Resolution No. 93-4359 which abolished the Career
Executive Service Board.
Several legal issues have arisen as a result of the issuance of CSC Resolution No. 93-4359, including whether the Civil
Service Commission has authority to abolish the Career Executive Service Board. Because these issues remain
unresolved, the Office of the President has refrained from considering appointments of career service eligibles to
career executive ranks.
xxx xxx xxx
You may, however, bring a case before the appropriate court to settle the legal issues arising from issuance by the
Civil Service Commission of CSC Resolution No. 93-4359, for guidance of all concerned.
Thank You.
Finding herself bereft of further administrative relief as the Career Executive Service Board which recommended her CESO Rank IV has
been abolished, petitioner filed the petition at bench to annul, among others, resolution No. 93-4359. The petition is anchored on the
following arguments:
A.
IN VIOLATION OF THE CONSTITUTION, RESPONDENT COMMISSION USURPED THE LEGISLATIVE FUNCTIONS OF
CONGRESS WHEN IT ABOLISHED THE CESB, AN OFFICE CREATED BY LAW, THROUGH THE ISSUANCE OF CSC:
RESOLUTION NO. 93-4359;
B.
ALSO IN VIOLATION OF THE CONSTITUTION, RESPONDENT CSC USURPED THE LEGISLATIVE FUNCTIONS OF CONGRESS
WHEN IT ILLEGALLY AUTHORIZED THE TRANSFER OF PUBLIC MONEY, THROUGH THE ISSUANCE OF CSC RESOLUTION NO.
93-4359.
Required to file its Comment, the Solicitor General agreed with the contentions of petitioner. Respondent Commission, however, chose
to defend its ground. It posited the following position:
ARGUMENTS FOR PUBLIC RESPONDENT-CSC
I. THE INSTANT PETITION STATES NO CAUSE OF ACTION AGAINST THE PUBLIC RESPONDENT-CSC.
II. THE RECOMMENDATION SUBMITTED TO THE PRESIDENT FOR APPOINTMENT TO A CESO RANK OF PETITIONER EUGENIO
WAS A VALID ACT OF THE CAREER EXECUTIVE SERVICE BOARD OF THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION AND IT DOES NOT
HAVE ANY DEFECT.
III. THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT IS ESTOPPED FROM QUESTIONING THE VALIDITY OF THE RECOMMENDATION OF THE
CESB IN FAVOR OF PETITIONER EUGENIO SINCE THE PRESIDENT HAS PREVIOUSLY APPOINTED TO CESO RANK FOUR (4)
OFFICIALS SIMILARLY SITUATED AS SAID PETITIONER. FURTHERMORE, LACK OF MEMBERS TO CONSTITUTE A QUORUM.
ASSUMING THERE WAS NO QUORUM, IS NOT THE FAULT OF PUBLIC RESPONDENT CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION BUT OF
THE PRESIDENT WHO HAS THE POWER TO APPOINT THE OTHER MEMBERS OF THE CESB.
IV. THE INTEGRATION OF THE CESB INTO THE COMMISSION IS AUTHORIZED BY LAW (Sec. 12 (1), Title I, Subtitle A, Book V
of the Administrative Code of the 1987). THIS PARTICULAR ISSUE HAD ALREADY BEEN SETTLED WHEN THE HONORABLE
COURT DISMISSED THE PETITION FILED BY THE HONORABLE MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, NAMELY:
SIMEON A. DATUMANONG, FELICIANO R. BELMONTE, JR., RENATO V. DIAZ, AND MANUEL M. GARCIA IN G.R. NO.
114380. THE AFOREMENTIONED PETITIONERS ALSO QUESTIONED THE INTEGRATION OF THE CESB WITH THE
COMMISSION.
We find merit in the petition.
3

The controlling fact is that the Career Executive Service Board (CESB) was created in the Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 1 on September
1, 1974
4
which adopted the Integrated Plan. Article IV, Chapter I, Part of the III of the said Plan provides:
Article IV Career Executive Service
1. A Career Executive Service is created to form a continuing pool of well-selected and development oriented
career administrators who shall provide competent and faithful service.
2. A Career Executive Service hereinafter referred to in this Chapter as the Board, is created to serve as the
governing body of the Career Executive Service. The Board shall consist of the Chairman of the Civil Service
Commission as presiding officer, the Executive Secretary and the Commissioner of the Budget as ex-officio members
and two other members from the private sector and/or the academic community who are familiar with the
principles and methods of personnel administration.
xxx xxx xxx
5. The Board shall promulgate rules, standards and procedures on the selection, classification, compensation and
career development of members of the Career Executive Service. The Board shall set up the organization and
operation of the service. (Emphasis supplied)
It cannot be disputed, therefore, that as the CESB was created by law, it can only be abolished by the legislature. This foll ows an
unbroken stream of rulings that the creation and abolition of public offices is primarily a legislative function. As aptly summed up in AM
JUR 2d on Public Officers and
Employees,
5
viz:
Except for such offices as are created by the Constitution, the creation of public offices is primarily a legislative
function. In so far as the legislative power in this respect is not restricted by constitutional provisions, it supreme, and
the legislature may decide for itself what offices are suitable, necessary, or convenient. When in the exigencies of
government it is necessary to create and define duties, the legislative department has the discretion to determine
whether additional offices shall be created, or whether these duties shall be attached to and become ex-
officio duties of existing offices. An office created by the legislature is wholly within the power of that body, and it
may prescribe the mode of filling the office and the powers and duties of the incumbent, and if it sees fit, abolish the
office.
In the petition at bench, the legislature has not enacted any law authorizing the abolition of the CESB. On the contrary, in all the
General Appropriations Acts from 1975 to 1993, the legislature has set aside funds for the operation of CESB. Respondent Commission,
however, invokes Section 17, Chapter 3, Subtitle A. Title I, Book V of the Administrative Code of 1987 as the source of its power to
abolish the CESB. Section 17 provides:
Sec. 17. Organizational Structure. Each office of the Commission shall be headed by a Director with at least one
Assistant Director, and may have such divisions as are necessary independent constitutional body, the Commission
may effect changes in the organization as the need arises.
But as well pointed out by petitioner and the Solicitor General, Section 17 must be read together with Section 16 of the said Code
which enumerates the offices under the respondent Commission, viz:
Sec. 16. Offices in the Commission. The Commission shall have the following offices:
(1) The Office of the Executive Director headed by an Executive Director, with a Deputy Executive Director shall
implement policies, standards, rules and regulations promulgated by the Commission; coordinate the programs of
the offices of the Commission and render periodic reports on their operations, and perform such other functions as
may be assigned by the Commission.
(2) The Merit System Protection Board composed of a Chairman and two (2) members shall have the following
functions:
xxx xxx xxx
(3) The Office of Legal Affairs shall provide the Chairman with legal advice and assistance; render counselling
services; undertake legal studies and researches; prepare opinions and ruling in the interpretation and application
of the Civil Service law, rules and regulations; prosecute violations of such law, rules and regulations; and represent
the Commission before any court or tribunal.
(4) The Office of Planning and Management shall formulate development plans, programs and projects; undertake
research and studies on the different aspects of public personnel management; administer management
improvement programs; and provide fiscal and budgetary services.
(5) The Central Administrative Office shall provide the Commission with personnel, financial, logistics and other basic
support services.
(6) The Office of Central Personnel Records shall formulate and implement policies, standards, rules and regulations
pertaining to personnel records maintenance, security, control and disposal; provide storage and extension services;
and provide and maintain library services.
(7) The Office of Position Classification and Compensation shall formulate and implement policies, standards, rules
and regulations relative to the administration of position classification and compensation.
(8) The Office of Recruitment, Examination and Placement shall provide leadership and assistance in developing
and implementing the overall Commission programs relating to recruitment, execution and placement, and
formulate policies, standards, rules and regulations for the proper implementation of the Commission's examination
and placement programs.
(9) The Office of Career Systems and Standards shall provide leadership and assistance in the formulation and
evaluation of personnel systems and standards relative to performance appraisal, merit promotion, and employee
incentive benefit and awards.
(10) The Office of Human Resource Development shall provide leadership and assistance in the development and
retention of qualified and efficient work force in the Civil Service; formulate standards for training and staff
development; administer service-wide scholarship programs; develop training literature and materials; coordinate
and integrate all training activities and evaluate training programs.
(11) The Office of Personnel Inspection and Audit shall develop policies, standards, rules and regulations for the
effective conduct or inspection and audit personnel and personnel management programs and the exercise of
delegated authority; provide technical and advisory services to Civil Service Regional Offices and government
agencies in the implementation of their personnel programs and evaluation systems.
(12) The Office of Personnel Relations shall provide leadership and assistance in the development and
implementation of policies, standards, rules and regulations in the accreditation of employee associations or
organizations and in the adjustment and settlement of employee grievances and management of employee
disputes.
(13) The Office of Corporate Affairs shall formulate and implement policies, standards, rules and regulations
governing corporate officials and employees in the areas of recruitment, examination, placement, career
development, merit and awards systems, position classification and compensation, performing appraisal, employee
welfare and benefit, discipline and other aspects of personnel management on the basis of comparable industry
practices.
(14) The Office of Retirement Administration shall be responsible for the enforcement of the constitutional and
statutory provisions, relative to retirement and the regulation for the effective implementation of the retirement of
government officials and employees.
(15) The Regional and Field Offices. The Commission shall have not less than thirteen (13) Regional offices each to
be headed by a Director, and such field offices as may be needed, each to be headed by an official with at least
the rank of an Assistant Director.
As read together, the inescapable conclusion is that respondent Commission's power to reorganize is limited to offices under
its control as enumerated in Section 16, supra. From its inception, the CESB was intended to be an autonomous entity, albeit
administratively attached to respondent Commission. As conceptualized by the Reorganization Committee "the CESB shall be
autonomous. It is expected to view the problem of building up executive manpower in the government with a broad and
positive outlook."
6
The essential autonomous character of the CESB is not negated by its attachment to respondent
Commission. By said attachment, CESB was not made to fall within the control of respondent Commission. Under the
Administrative Code of 1987, the purpose of attaching one functionally inter-related government agency to another is to
attain "policy and program coordination." This is clearly etched out in Section 38(3), Chapter 7, Book IV of the aforecited
Code, to wit:
(3) Attachment. (a) This refers to the lateral relationship between the department or its equivalent and attached
agency or corporation for purposes of policy and program coordination. The coordination may be accomplished
by having the department represented in the governing board of the attached agency or corporation, either as
chairman or as a member, with or without voting rights, if this is permitted by the charter; having the attached
corporation or agency comply with a system of periodic reporting which shall reflect the progress of programs and
projects; and having the department or its equivalent provide general policies through its representative in the
board, which shall serve as the framework for the internal policies of the attached corporation or agency.
Respondent Commission also relies on the case of Datumanong, et al., vs. Civil Service Commission, G. R. No. 114380 where the petition
assailing the abolition of the CESB was dismissed for lack of cause of action. Suffice to state that the reliance is misplaced considering
that the cited case was dismissed for lack of standing of the petitioner, hence, the lack of cause of action.
IN VIEW WHEREOF, the petition is granted and Resolution No. 93-4359 of the respondent Commission is hereby annulled and set aside.
No costs.
SO ORDERED.
Narvasa, C.J., Feliciano, Padilla, Bidin, Regalado, Davide, Jr., Romero, Bellosillo, Melo, Quiason, Vitug, Kapunan and Mendoza, JJ.,
concur.

EN BANC
[G.R. No. L-9657. November 29, 1956.]
LEOPOLDO T. BACANI and MATEO A. MATOTO, Plaintiffs-Appellees, vs. NATIONAL COCONUT CORPORATION, ET AL., Defendants,
NATIONAL COCONUT CORPORATION and BOARD OF LIQUIDATORS, Defendants-Appellants.

D E C I S I O N
BAUTISTA ANGELO, J.:
Plaintiffs herein are court stenographers assigned in Branch VI of the Court of First Instance of Manila. During the pendency of Civil
Case No. 2293 of said court, entitled Francisco Sycip vs. National Coconut Corporation, Assistant Corporate Counsel Federico Alikpala,
counsel forDefendant, requested said stenographers for copies of the transcript of the stenographic notes taken by them during the
hearing. Plaintiffs complied with the request by delivering to Counsel Alikpala the needed transcript containing 714 pages and
thereafter submitted to him their bills for the payment of their fees. The National Coconut Corporation paid the amount of P564 to
Leopoldo T. Bacani and P150 to Mateo A. Matoto for said transcript at the rate of P1 per page.
Upon inspecting the books of this corporation, the Auditor General disallowed the payment of these fees and sought the recovery of
the amounts paid. On January 19, 1953, the Auditor General required the Plaintiffs to reimburse said amounts on the strength of a
circular of the Department of Justice wherein the opinion was expressed that the National Coconut Corporation, being a government
entity, was exempt from the payment of the fees in question. On February 6, 1954, the Auditor General issued an order directing the
Cashier of the Department of Justice to deduct from the salary of Leopoldo T. Bacani the amount of P25 every payday and from the
salary of Mateo A. Matoto the amount of P10 every payday beginning March 30, 1954. To prevent deduction of these fees from their
salaries and secure a judicial ruling that the National Coconut Corporation is not a government entity within the purview of section 16,
Rule 130 of the Rules of Court, this action was instituted in the Court of First Instance of Manila.
Defendants set up as a defense that the National Coconut Corporation is a government entity within the purview of section 2 of the
Revised Administrative Code of 1917 and, hence, it is exempt from paying the stenographers fees under Rule 130 of the Rules of Court.
After trial, the court found for the Plaintiffs declaring (1) that Defendant National Coconut Corporation is not a government entity
within the purview of section 16, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court; chan roblesvirtualawlibrary(2) that the payments already made by
said Defendant to Plaintiffs herein and received by the latter from the former in the total amount of P714, for copies of the
stenographic transcripts in question, are valid, just and legal; chan roblesvirtualawlibraryand (3) that Plaintiffs are under no obligation
whatsoever to make a refund of these payments already received by them. This is an appeal from said decision.
Under section 16, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court, the Government of the Philippines is exempt from paying the legal fees provided for
therein, and among these fees are those which stenographers may charge for the transcript of notes taken by them that may be
requested by any interested person (section 8). The fees in question are for the transcript of notes taken during the hearing of a case in
which the National Coconut Corporation is interested, and the transcript was requested by its assistant corporate counsel for the use of
said corporation.
On the other hand, section 2 of the Revised Administrative Code defines the scope of the term Government of the Republic of the
Philippines as follows:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
The Government of the Philippine Islands is a term which refers to the corporate governmental entity through which the functions of
government are exercised throughout the Philippine Islands, including, save as the contrary appears from the context, the various arms
through which political authority is made effective in said Islands, whether pertaining to the central Government or to the provincial or
municipal branches or other form of local government.
The question now to be determined is whether the National Coconut Corporation may be considered as included in the term
Government of the Republic of the Philippines for the purposes of the exemption of the legal fees provided for in Rule 130 of the
Rules of Court.
As may be noted, the term Government of the Republic of the Philippines refers to a government entity through which the functions
of government are exercised, including the various arms through which political authority is made effective in the Philippines, whether
pertaining to the central government or to the provincial or municipal branches or other form of local government. This requi res a little
digression on the nature and functions of our government as instituted in our Constitution.
To begin with, we state that the term Government may be defined as that institution or aggregate of institutions by which an
independent society makes and carries out those rules of action which are necessary to enable men to live in a social state, or which
are imposed upon the people forming that society by those who possess the power or authority of prescribing them (U.S. vs. Dorr, 2
Phil., 332). This institution, when referring to the national government, has reference to what our Constitution has established composed
of three great departments, the legislative, executive, and the judicial, through which the powers and functions of government are
exercised. These functions are twofold:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary constitute and ministrant. The former are those which constitute the
very bonds of society and are compulsory in nature; chan roblesvirtualawlibrarythe latter are those that are undertaken only by way of
advancing the general interests of society, and are merely optional. President Wilson enumerates the constituent functions as
follows:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
(1) The keeping of order and providing for the protection of persons and property from violence and robbery.
(2) The fixing of the legal relations between man and wife and between parents and children.
(3) The regulation of the holding, transmission, and interchange of property, and the determination of its liabilities for debt or for crime.
(4) The determination of contract rights between individuals.
(5) The definition and punishment of crime.
(6) The administration of justice in civil cases.
(7) The determination of the political duties, privileges, and relations of citizens.
(8) Dealings of the state with foreign powers:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary the preservation of the state from external danger or
encroachment and the advancement of its international interests. (Malcolm, The Government of the Philippine Islands, p. 19.)
The most important of the ministrant functions are:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary public works, public education, public charity, health and
safety regulations, and regulations of trade and industry. The principles deter mining whether or not a government shall exercise certain
of these optional functions are:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary (1) that a government should do for the public welfare those things which
private capital would not naturally undertake and (2) that a government should do these things which by its very nature it is better
equipped to administer for the public welfare than is any private individual or group of individuals. (Malcolm, The Government of the
Philippine Islands, pp. 19-20.)
From the above we may infer that, strictly speaking, there are functions which our government is required to exercise to promote its
objectives as expressed in our Constitution and which are exercised by it as an attribute of sovereignty, and those which it may
exercise to promote merely the welfare, progress and prosperity of the people. To this latter class belongs the organization of those
corporations owned or controlled by the government to promote certain aspects of the economic life of our people such as the
National Coconut Corporation. These are what we call government-owned or controlled corporations which may take on the form of
a private enterprise or one organized with powers and formal characteristics of a private corporations under the Corporation Law.
The question that now arises is:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary Does the fact that these corporation perform certain functions of
government make them a part of the Government of the Philippines?
The answer is simple:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary they do not acquire that status for the simple reason that they do not come under the
classification of municipal or public corporation. Take for instance the National Coconut Corporation. While it was organized wi th the
purpose of adjusting the coconut industry to a position independent of trade preferences in the United States and of providing
Facilities for the better curing of copra products and the proper utilization of coconut by-products, a function which our government
has chosen to exercise to promote the coconut industry, however, it was given a corporate power separate and distinct from our
government, for it was made subject to the provisions of our Corporation Law in so far as its corporate existence and the powers that it
may exercise are concerned (sections 2 and 4, Commonwealth Act No. 518). It may sue and be sued in the same manner as any other
private corporations, and in this sense it is an entity different from our government. As this Court has aptly said, The mere fact that the
Government happens to be a majority stockholder does not make it a public corporation (National Coal Co. vs. Collector of Internal
Revenue, 46 Phil., 586-587). By becoming a stockholder in the National Coal Company, the Government divested itself of its sovereign
character so far as respects the transactions of the corporation cralaw . Unlike the Government, the corporation may be sued without
its consent, and is subject to taxation. Yet the National Coal Company remains an agency or instrumentality of government.
(Government of the Philippine Islands vs. Springer, 50 Phil., 288.)
To recapitulate, we may mention that the term Government of the Republic of the Philippines used in section 2 of the Revised
Administrative Code refers only to that government entity through which the functions of the government are exercised as an attribute
of sovereignty, and in this are included those arms through which political authority is made effective whether they be provincial,
municipal or other form of local government. These are what we call municipal corporations. They do not include government entities
which are given a corporate personality separate and distinct from the government and which are governed by the Corporation Law.
Their powers, duties and liabilities have to be determined in the light of that law and of their corporate charters. They do not therefore
come within the exemption clause prescribed in section 16, Rule 130 of our Rules of Court.
Public corporations are those formed or organized for the government of a portion of the State. (Section 3, Republic Act No. 1459,
Corporation Law).
The generally accepted definition of a municipal corporation would only include organized cities and towns, and like organizati ons,
with political and legislative powers for the local, civil government and police regulations of the inhabitants of the particular district
included in the boundaries of the corporation. Heller vs. Stremmel, 52 Mo. 309, 312.
In its more general sense the phrase municipal corporation may include both towns and counties, and other public corporati ons
created by government for political purposes. In its more common and limited signification, it embraces only incorporated villages,
towns and cities. Dunn vs. Court of County Revenues, 85 Ala. 144, 146, 4 So. 661. (McQuillin, Municipal Corporations, 2nd ed., Vol. 1, p.
385.)
We may, therefore, define a municipal corporation in its historical and strict sense to be the incorporation, by the authority of the
government, of the inhabitants of a particular place or district, and authorizing them in their corporate capacity to exercise
subordinate specified powers of legislation and regulation with respect to their local and internal concerns. This power of l ocal
government is the distinctive purpose and the distinguishing feature of a municipal corporation proper. (Dillon, Municipal
Corporations, 5th ed., Vol. I, p. 59.)
It is true that under section 8, Rule 130, stenographers may only charge as fees P0.30 for each page of transcript of not less than 200
words before the appeal is taken and P0.15 for each page after the filing of the appeal, but in this case the National Coconut
Corporation has agreed and in fact has paid P1.00 per page for the services rendered by the Plaintiffs and has not raised any
objection to the amount paid until its propriety was disputed by the Auditor General. The payment of the fees in question became
therefore contractual and as such is valid even if it goes beyond the limit prescribed in section 8, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court.
As regards the question of procedure raised by Appellants, suffice it to say that the same is insubstantial, considering that this case
refers not to a money claim disapproved by the Auditor General but to an action of prohibition the purpose of which is to restrain the
officials concerned from deducting from Plaintiffs salaries the amount paid to them as stenographers fees. This case does not come
under section 1, Rule 45 of the Rules of Court relative to appeals from a decision of the Auditor General.
Wherefore, the decision appealed from is affirmed, without pronouncement as to costs.
Paras, C.J., Bengzon, Padilla, Montemayor, Labrador, Concepcion, Reyes, J. B. L., Endencia and Felix, JJ., concur.

Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
SECOND DIVISION
G.R. No. L-45710 October 3, 1985
CENTRAL BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES and ACTING DIRECTOR ANTONIO T. CASTRO, JR. OF THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCIAL AND SAVINGS
BANK, in his capacity as statutory receiver of Island Savings Bank, petitioners,
vs.
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS and SULPICIO M. TOLENTINO, respondents.
I.B. Regalado, Jr., Fabian S. Lombos and Marino E. Eslao for petitioners.
Antonio R. Tupaz for private respondent.
MAKASIAR, CJ.:
This is a petition for review on certiorari to set aside as null and void the decision of the Court of Appeals, in C.A.-G.R. No. 52253-R dated
February 11, 1977, modifying the decision dated February 15, 1972 of the Court of First Instance of Agusan, which dismissed the petition
of respondent Sulpicio M. Tolentino for injunction, specific performance or rescission, and damages with preliminary injunction.
On April 28, 1965, Island Savings Bank, upon favorable recommendation of its legal department, approved the loan application for
P80,000.00 of Sulpicio M. Tolentino, who, as a security for the loan, executed on the same day a real estate mortgage over his 100-
hectare land located in Cubo, Las Nieves, Agusan, and covered by TCT No. T-305, and which mortgage was annotated on the said
title the next day. The approved loan application called for a lump sum P80,000.00 loan, repayable in semi -annual installments for a
period of 3 years, with 12% annual interest. It was required that Sulpicio M. Tolentino shall use the loan proceeds solely as an additional
capital to develop his other property into a subdivision.
On May 22, 1965, a mere P17,000.00 partial release of the P80,000.00 loan was made by the Bank; and Sulpicio M. Tolentino and his
wife Edita Tolentino signed a promissory note for P17,000.00 at 12% annual interest, payable within 3 years from the date of execution of
the contract at semi-annual installments of P3,459.00 (p. 64, rec.). An advance interest for the P80,000.00 loan covering a 6-month
period amounting to P4,800.00 was deducted from the partial release of P17,000.00. But this pre-deducted interest was refunded to
Sulpicio M. Tolentino on July 23, 1965, after being informed by the Bank that there was no fund yet available for the release of the
P63,000.00 balance (p. 47, rec.). The Bank, thru its vice-president and treasurer, promised repeatedly the release of the P63,000.00
balance (p. 113, rec.).
On August 13, 1965, the Monetary Board of the Central Bank, after finding Island Savings Bank was suffering liquidity problems, issued
Resolution No. 1049, which provides:
In view of the chronic reserve deficiencies of the Island Savings Bank against its deposit liabilities, the Board, by
unanimous vote, decided as follows:
1) To prohibit the bank from making new loans and investments [except investments in government securities]
excluding extensions or renewals of already approved loans, provided that such extensions or renewals shall be
subject to review by the Superintendent of Banks, who may impose such limitations as may be necessary to insure
correction of the bank's deficiency as soon as possible;
xxx xxx xxx
(p. 46, rec.).
On June 14, 1968, the Monetary Board, after finding thatIsland Savings Bank failed to put up the required capital to restore its solvency,
issued Resolution No. 967 which prohibited Island Savings Bank from doing business in the Philippines and instructed the Acti ng
Superintendent of Banks to take charge of the assets of Island Savings Bank (pp. 48-49, rec).
On August 1, 1968, Island Savings Bank, in view of non-payment of the P17,000.00 covered by the promissory note, filed an application
for the extra-judicial foreclosure of the real estate mortgage covering the 100-hectare land of Sulpicio M. Tolentino; and the sheriff
scheduled the auction for January 22, 1969.
On January 20, 1969, Sulpicio M. Tolentino filed a petition with the Court of First Instance of Agusan for i njunction, specific performance
or rescission and damages with preliminary injunction, alleging that since Island Savings Bank failed to deliver the P63,000.00 balance of
the P80,000.00 loan, he is entitled to specific performance by ordering Island Savings Bank to deliver the P63,000.00 with interest of 12%
per annum from April 28, 1965, and if said balance cannot be delivered, to rescind the real estate mortgage (pp. 32-43, rec.).
On January 21, 1969, the trial court, upon the filing of a P5,000.00 surety bond, issued a temporary restraining order enjoining the Island
Savings Bank from continuing with the foreclosure of the mortgage (pp. 86-87, rec.).
On January 29, 1969, the trial court admitted the answer in intervention praying for the dismissal of the petition of Sulpicio M. Tolentino
and the setting aside of the restraining order, filed by the Central Bank and by the Acting Superintendent of Banks (pp. 65-76, rec.).
On February 15, 1972, the trial court, after trial on the merits rendered its decision, finding unmeritorious the petition of Sulpicio M.
Tolentino, ordering him to pay Island Savings Bank the amount of PI 7 000.00 plus legal interest and legal charges due thereon, and
lifting the restraining order so that the sheriff may proceed with the foreclosure (pp. 135-136. rec.
On February 11, 1977, the Court of Appeals, on appeal by Sulpicio M. Tolentino, modified the Court of First Instance decision by
affirming the dismissal of Sulpicio M. Tolentino's petition for specific performance, but it ruled that Island Savings Bank can neither
foreclose the real estate mortgage nor collect the P17,000.00 loan pp. 30-:31. rec.).
Hence, this instant petition by the central Bank.
The issues are:
1. Can the action of Sulpicio M. Tolentino for specific performance prosper?
2. Is Sulpicio M. Tolentino liable to pay the P17,000.00 debt covered by the promissory note?
3. If Sulpicio M. Tolentino's liability to pay the P17,000.00 subsists, can his real estate mortgage be foreclosed to satisfy
said amount?
When Island Savings Bank and Sulpicio M. Tolentino entered into an P80,000.00 loan agreement on April 28, 1965, they undertook
reciprocal obligations. In reciprocal obligations, the obligation or promise of each party is the consideration for that of the other
(Penaco vs. Ruaya, 110 SCRA 46 [1981]; Vda. de Quirino vs, Pelarca 29 SCRA 1 [1969]); and when one party has performed or is ready
and willing to perform his part of the contract, the other party who has not performed or is not ready and willing to perform incurs in
delay (Art. 1169 of the Civil Code). The promise of Sulpicio M. Tolentino to pay was the consideration for the obligation of Island Savings
Bank to furnish the P80,000.00 loan. When Sulpicio M. Tolentino executed a real estate mortgage on April 28, 1965, he signified his
willingness to pay the P80,000.00 loan. From such date, the obligation of Island Savings Bank to furnish the P80,000.00 loan accrued.
Thus, the Bank's delay in furnishing the entire loan started on April 28, 1965, and lasted for a period of 3 years or when the Monetary
Board of the Central Bank issued Resolution No. 967 on June 14, 1968, which prohibited Island Savings Bank from doing further business.
Such prohibition made it legally impossible for Island Savings Bank to furnish the P63,000.00 balance of the P80,000.00 loan. The power
of the Monetary Board to take over insolvent banks for the protection of the public is recognized by Section 29 of R.A. No. 265, which
took effect on June 15, 1948, the validity of which is not in question.
The Board Resolution No. 1049 issued on August 13,1965 cannot interrupt the default of Island Savings Bank in complying with its
obligation of releasing the P63,000.00 balance because said resolution merely prohibited the Bank from making new loans and
investments, and nowhere did it prohibit island Savings Bank from releasing the balance of loan agreements previously contracted.
Besides, the mere pecuniary inability to fulfill an engagement does not discharge the obligation of the contract, nor does it constitute
any defense to a decree of specific performance (Gutierrez Repide vs. Afzelius and Afzelius, 39 Phil. 190 [1918]). And, the mere fact of
insolvency of a debtor is never an excuse for the non-fulfillment of an obligation but 'instead it is taken as a breach of the contract by
him (vol. 17A, 1974 ed., CJS p. 650)
The fact that Sulpicio M. Tolentino demanded and accepted the refund of the pre-deducted interest amounting to P4,800.00 for the
supposed P80,000.00 loan covering a 6-month period cannot be taken as a waiver of his right to collect the P63,000.00 balance. The
act of Island Savings Bank, in asking the advance interest for 6 months on the supposed P80,000.00 loan, was improper considering that
only P17,000.00 out of the P80,000.00 loan was released. A person cannot be legally charged interest for a non-existing debt. Thus, the
receipt by Sulpicio M. 'Tolentino of the pre-deducted interest was an exercise of his right to it, which right exist independently of his right
to demand the completion of the P80,000.00 loan. The exercise of one right does not affect, much less neutralize, the exercise of the
other.
The alleged discovery by Island Savings Bank of the over-valuation of the loan collateral cannot exempt it from complying with its
reciprocal obligation to furnish the entire P80,000.00 loan. 'This Court previously ruled that bank officials and employees are expected
to exercise caution and prudence in the discharge of their functions (Rural Bank of Caloocan, Inc. vs. C.A., 104 SCRA 151 [1981]). It is
the obligation of the bank's officials and employees that before they approve the loan application of their customers, they must
investigate the existence and evaluation of the properties being offered as a loan security. The recent rush of events where collaterals
for bank loans turn out to be non-existent or grossly over-valued underscore the importance of this responsibility. The mere reliance by
bank officials and employees on their customer's representation regarding the loan collateral being offered as loan security is a patent
non-performance of this responsibility. If ever bank officials and employees totally reIy on the representation of their customers as to the
valuation of the loan collateral, the bank shall bear the risk in case the collateral turn out to be over-valued. The representation made
by the customer is immaterial to the bank's responsibility to conduct its own investigation. Furthermore, the lower court, on objections
of' Sulpicio M. Tolentino, had enjoined petitioners from presenting proof on the alleged over-valuation because of their failure to raise
the same in their pleadings (pp. 198-199, t.s.n. Sept. 15. 1971). The lower court's action is sanctioned by the Rules of Court, Section 2,
Rule 9, which states that "defenses and objections not pleaded either in a motion to dismiss or in the answer are deemed waived."
Petitioners, thus, cannot raise the same issue before the Supreme Court.
Since Island Savings Bank was in default in fulfilling its reciprocal obligation under their loan agreement, Sulpicio M. Tolentino, under
Article 1191 of the Civil Code, may choose between specific performance or rescission with damages in either case. But since Island
Savings Bank is now prohibited from doing further business by Monetary Board Resolution No. 967, WE cannot grant specific
performance in favor of Sulpicio M, Tolentino.
Rescission is the only alternative remedy left. WE rule, however, that rescission is only for the P63,000.00 balance of the P80,000.00 loan,
because the bank is in default only insofar as such amount is concerned, as there is no doubt that the bank failed to give the
P63,000.00. As far as the partial release of P17,000.00, which Sulpicio M. Tolentino accepted and executed a promissory note to cover
it, the bank was deemed to have complied with its reciprocal obligation to furnish a P17,000.00 loan. The promissory note gave rise to
Sulpicio M. Tolentino's reciprocal obligation to pay the P17,000.00 loan when it falls due. His failure to pay the overdue amortizations
under the promissory note made him a party in default, hence not entitled to rescission (Article 1191 of the Civil Code). If there is a right
to rescind the promissory note, it shall belong to the aggrieved party, that is, Island Savings Bank. If Tolentino had not signed a
promissory note setting the date for payment of P17,000.00 within 3 years, he would be entitled to ask for rescission of the entire loan
because he cannot possibly be in default as there was no date for him to perform his reciprocal obligation to pay.
Since both parties were in default in the performance of their respective reciprocal obligations, that is, Island Savings Bank failed to
comply with its obligation to furnish the entire loan and Sulpicio M. Tolentino failed to comply with his obl igation to pay his P17,000.00
debt within 3 years as stipulated, they are both liable for damages.
Article 1192 of the Civil Code provides that in case both parties have committed a breach of their reciprocal obligations, the liability of
the first infractor shall be equitably tempered by the courts. WE rule that the liability of Island Savings Bank for damages in not furnishing
the entire loan is offset by the liability of Sulpicio M. Tolentino for damages, in the form of penalties and surcharges, for not paying his
overdue P17,000.00 debt. The liability of Sulpicio M. Tolentino for interest on his PI 7,000.00 debt shall not be included in offsetting the
liabilities of both parties. Since Sulpicio M. Tolentino derived some benefit for his use of the P17,000.00, it is just that he should account
for the interest thereon.
WE hold, however, that the real estate mortgage of Sulpicio M. Tolentino cannot be entirely foreclosed to satisfy his P 17,000.00 debt.
The consideration of the accessory contract of real estate mortgage is the same as that of the principal contract (Banco de Oro vs.
Bayuga, 93 SCRA 443 [1979]). For the debtor, the consideration of his obligation to pay is the existence of a debt. Thus, in the accessory
contract of real estate mortgage, the consideration of the debtor in furnishing the mortgage is the existence of a valid, voidable, or
unenforceable debt (Art. 2086, in relation to Art, 2052, of the Civil Code).
The fact that when Sulpicio M. 'Tolentino executed his real estate mortgage, no consideration was then in existence, as there was no
debt yet because Island Savings Bank had not made any release on the loan, does not make the real estate mortgage void for lack of
consideration. It is not necessary that any consideration should pass at the time of the execution of the contract of real mortgage
(Bonnevie vs. C.A., 125 SCRA 122 [1983]). lt may either be a prior or subsequent matter. But when the consideration is subsequent to the
mortgage, the mortgage can take effect only when the debt secured by it is created as a binding contract to pay (Parks vs, Sherman,
Vol. 176 N.W. p. 583, cited in the 8th ed., Jones on Mortgage, Vol. 2, pp. 5-6). And, when there is partial failure of consideration, the
mortgage becomes unenforceable to the extent of such failure (Dow. et al. vs. Poore, Vol. 172 N.E. p. 82, cited in Vol. 59, 1974 ed. CJS,
p. 138). Where the indebtedness actually owing to the holder of the mortgage is less than the sum named in the mortgage, the
mortgage cannot be enforced for more than the actual sum due (Metropolitan Life Ins. Co. vs. Peterson, Vol. 19, F(2d) p. 88, cited in
5th ed., Wiltsie on Mortgage, Vol. 1, P. 180).
Since Island Savings Bank failed to furnish the P63,000.00 balance of the P8O,000.00 loan, the real estate mortgage of Sulpicio M.
Tolentino became unenforceable to such extent. P63,000.00 is 78.75% of P80,000.00, hence the real estate mortgage covering 100
hectares is unenforceable to the extent of 78.75 hectares. The mortgage covering the remainder of 21.25 hectares subsists as a security
for the P17,000.00 debt. 21.25 hectares is more than sufficient to secure a P17,000.00 debt.
The rule of indivisibility of a real estate mortgage provided for by Article 2089 of the Civil Code is inapplicable to the facts of this case.
Article 2089 provides:
A pledge or mortgage is indivisible even though the debt may be divided among the successors in interest of the
debtor or creditor.
Therefore, the debtor's heirs who has paid a part of the debt can not ask for the proportionate extinguishment of the
pledge or mortgage as long as the debt is not completely satisfied.
Neither can the creditor's heir who have received his share of the debt return the pledge or cancel the mortgage,
to the prejudice of other heirs who have not been paid.
The rule of indivisibility of the mortgage as outlined by Article 2089 above-quoted presupposes several heirs of the debtor or creditor
which does not obtain in this case. Hence, the rule of indivisibility of a mortgage cannot apply
WHEREFORE, THE DECISION OF THE COURT OF APPEALS DATED FEBRUARY 11, 1977 IS HEREBY MODIFIED, AND
1. SULPICIO M. TOLENTINO IS HEREBY ORDERED TO PAY IN FAVOR OF HEREIN PETITIONERS THE SUM OF P17.000.00, PLUS P41,210.00
REPRESENTING 12% INTEREST PER ANNUM COVERING THE PERIOD FROM MAY 22, 1965 TO AUGUST 22, 1985, AND 12% INTEREST ON THE
TOTAL AMOUNT COUNTED FROM AUGUST 22, 1985 UNTIL PAID;
2. IN CASE SULPICIO M. TOLENTINO FAILS TO PAY, HIS REAL ESTATE MORTGAGE COVERING 21.25 HECTARES SHALL BE FORECLOSED TO
SATISFY HIS TOTAL INDEBTEDNESS; AND
3. THE REAL ESTATE MORTGAGE COVERING 78.75 HECTARES IS HEREBY DECLARED UNEN FORCEABLE AND IS HEREBY ORDERED RELEASED
IN FAVOR OF SULPICIO M. TOLENTINO.
NO COSTS. SO ORDERED.

uman Settlements.
On December 12, 1986, the then President Corazon C. Aquino issued Executive Order No. 85 abolishing the Office of Media Affairs and the Ministry of
Human Settlements. All agencies under the latters supervision as well as all its assets, programs and projects, were transferred to the Presidential Management
Staff (PMS).
[2]

On October 18, 1988, the PMS received an application from petitioner UNITED RESIDENTS OF DOMINICAN HILL, INC. (UNITED, for brevity), a
community housing association composed of non-real property owning residents of Baguio City, to acquire a portion of the Dominican Hills property. On
February 2, 1990, PMS Secretary Elfren Cruz referred the application to the HOME INSURANCE GUARANTY CORPORATION (HIGC). HIGC consented to
act as originator for UNITED.
[3]
Accordingly, on May 9, 1990, a Memorandum of Agreement was signed by and among the PMS, the HIGC, and UNITED. The
Memorandum of Agreement called for the PMS to sell the Dominican Hills property to HIGC which would, in turn, sell the same to UNITED. The parties agreed
on a selling price of P75.00 per square meter.
Thus, on June 12, 1991, HIGC sold 2.48 hectares of the property to UNITED. The deed of conditional sale provided that ten (10) per cent of the purchase
price would be paid upon signing, with the balance to be amortized within one year from its date of execution. After UNITED made its final payment on January
31, 1992, HIGC executed a Deed of Absolute Sale dated July 1, 1992.
Petitioner alleges that sometime in 1993, private respondents entered the Dominican Hills property allocated to UNITED and constructed houses
thereon. Petitioner was able to secure a demolition order from the city mayor.
[4]

Unable to stop the razing of their houses, private respondents, under the name DOMINICAN HILL BAGUIO RESIDENTS HOMELESS
ASSOCIATION (ASSOCIATION, for brevity) filed an action
[5]
for injunction docketed as Civil Case No. 3316-R, in the Regional Trial Court of Baguio
City, Branch 4. Private respondents were able to obtain a temporary restraining order but their prayer for a writ of preliminary injunction was later denied in an
Order dated March 18, 1996.
[6]

While Civil Case No. 3316-R was pending, the ASSOCIATION, this time represented by the Land Reform Beneficiaries Association, Inc.
(BENEFICIARIES, for brevity), filed Civil Case No. 3382-R before Branch 61 of the same court. The complaint
[7]
prayed for damages, injunction and annulment
of the said Memorandum of Agreement between UNITED and HIGC. Upon motion of UNITED, the trial court in an Order dated May 27, 1996 dismissed Civil
Case No. 3382-R.
[8]
The said Order of dismissal is currently on appeal with the Court of Appeals.
[9]

Demolition Order No. 1-96 was subsequently implemented by the Office of the City Mayor and the City Engineers Office of Baguio City. However,
petitioner avers that private respondents returned and reconstructed the demolished structures.
To forestall the re-implementation of the demolition order, private respondents filed on September 29, 1998 a petition
[10]
for annulment of contracts with
prayer for a temporary restraining order, docketed as COSLAP Case No. 98-253, in the Commission on the Settlement of Land Problems (COSLAP) against
petitioner, HIGC, PMS, the City Engineers Office, the City Mayor, as well as the Register of Deeds of Baguio City. On the very same day, public respondent
COSLAP issued the contested order requiring the parties to maintain the status quo.
Without filing a motion for reconsideration from the aforesaid status quo order, petitioner filed the instant petition questioning the jurisdiction of the
COSLAP.
The issues we are called upon to resolve are:
1
IS THE COMMISSION ON THE SETTLEMENT OF LAND PROBLEMS [COSLAP] CREATED UNDER EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 561 BY THE OFFICE
OF THE PHILIPPINES [sic] EMPOWERED TO HEAR AND TRY A PETITION FOR ANNULMENT OF CONTRACTS WITH PRAYER FOR A
TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER AND THUS, ARROGATE UNTO ITSELF THE POWER TO ISSUE STATUS QUO ORDER AND CONDUCT A
HEARING THEREOF [sic]?
2
ASSUMING THAT THE COMMISSION ON THE SETTLEMENT OF LAND PROBLEMS [COSLAP] HAS JURISDICTION ON THE MATTER, IS IT
EXEMPTED FROM OBSERVING A CLEAR CASE OF FORUM SHOPPING ON THE PART OF THE PRIVATE RESPONDENTS?
To the extent that the instant case is denominated as one for declaratory relief, we initially clarify that we do not possess original jurisdiction to entertain
such petitions.
[11]
Such is vested in the Regional Trial Courts.
[12]
Accordingly, we shall limit our review to ascertaining if the proceedings before public respondent
COSLAP are without or in excess of its jurisdiction. In this wise, a recounting of the history of the COSLAP may provide useful insights into the extent of its
powers and functions.
The COSLAP was created by virtue of Executive Order No. 561 dated September 21, 1979. Its forerunner was the Presidential Action Committee on
Land Problems (PACLAP) founded on July 31, 1970 by virtue of Executive Order No. 251. As originally conceived, the committee was tasked to expedite
and coordinate the investigation and resolution of land disputes, streamline and shorten administrative procedures, adopt bold and decisive measures to solve land
problems, and/or recommend other solutions. It was given the power to issue subpoenas duces tecum and ad testificandum and to call upon any department,
office, agency or instrumentality of the government, including government owned or controlled corporations and local government units, for assistance in the
performance of its functions. At the time, the PACLAP did not exercise quasi-judicial functions.
On March 19, 1971, Executive Order No. 305 was issued reconstituting the PACLAP.
[13]
The committee was given exclusive jurisdiction over all cases
involving public lands and other lands of the public domain and accordingly was tasked:
1. To investigate, coordinate, and resolve expeditiously land disputes, streamline administrative procedures, and in general, to adopt bold and
decisive measures to solve problems involving public lands and lands of the public domain;
2. To coordinate and integrate the activities of all government agencies having to do with public lands or lands of the public domain;
3. To study and review present policies as embodied in land laws and administrative rules and regulations, in relation to the needs for land of the
agro-industrial sector and small farmers, with the end in view to evolving and recommending new laws and policies and establishing priorities in
the grant of public land, and the simplification of processing of land applications in order to relieve the small man from the complexities of
existing laws, rules and regulations;
4. To evolve and implement a system for the speedy investigation and resolution of land disputes;
5. To receive all complaints of settlers and small farmers, involving public lands or other lands of the public domain;
6. To look into the conflicts between Christians and non-Christians, between corporations and small settlers and farmers; cause the speedy settlement
of such conflicts in accordance with priorities or policies established by the Committee; and
7. To perform such other functions as may be assigned to it by the President.
Thereafter, the PACLAP was reorganized pursuant to Presidential Decree No. 832 dated November 27, 1975.
[14]
Its jurisdiction was revised thus:
xxx xxx xxx
2. Refer for immediate action any land problem or dispute brought to the attention of the PACLAP, to any member agency having jurisdiction thereof: Provided,
that when the Executive Committee decides to act on a case, its resolution, order or decision thereon, shall have the force and effect of a regular administrative
resolution, order or decision, and shall be binding upon the parties therein involved and upon the member agency having jurisdiction thereof;
xxx xxx xxx
Notably, the said Presidential Decree No. 832 did not contain any provision for judicial review of the resolutions, orders or decisions of the PACLAP.
On September 21, 1979, the PACLAP was abolished and its functions transferred to the present Commission on the Settlement of Land Problems by virtue
of Executive Order No. 561. This reorganization, effected in line with Presidential Decree No. 1416, brought the COSLAP directly under the Office of the
President.
[15]
It was only at this time that a provision for judicial review was made from resolutions, orders or decisions of the said agency, as embodied in section
3(2) thereof, to wit:
Powers and functions.The Commission shall have the following powers and functions:
1. Coordinate the activities, particularly the investigation work, of the various government offices and agencies involved in the settlement of land
problems or disputes, and streamline administrative procedures to relieve small settlers and landholders and members of cultural minorities of
the expense and time-consuming delay attendant to the solution of such problems or disputes;
2. Refer and follow-up for immediate action by the agency having appropriate jurisdiction any land problem or dispute referred to the
Commission: Provided, that the Commission may, in the following cases, assume jurisdiction and resolve land problems or disputes which are
critical and explosive in nature considering, for instance, the large number of the parties involved, the presence or emergence of social tension or
unrest, or other similar critical situations requiring immediate action:
(a) Between occupants/squatters and pasture lease agreement holders or timber concessionaires;
(b) Between occupants/squatters and government reservation grantees;
(c) Between occupants/squatters and public land claimants or applicants;
(d) Petitions for classification, release and/or subdivision of lands of the public domain; and
(e) Other similar land problems of grave urgency and magnitude.
The Commission shall promulgate such rules of procedure as will insure expeditious resolution and action on the above cases. The resolution, order or decision of
the Commission on any of the foregoing cases shall have the force and effect of a regular administrative resolution, order or decision and shall be binding upon the
parties therein and upon the agency having jurisdiction over the same. Said resolution, order or decision shall become final and executory within thirty (30) days
from its promulgation and shall be appealable by certiorari only to the Supreme Court.
xxx xxx xxx
In the performance of its functions and discharge of its duties, the Commission is authorized, through the Commissioner, to issue subpoena and subpoena duces
tecum for the appearance of witnesses and the production of records, books and documents before it. It may also call upon any ministry, office, agency or
instrumentality of the National Government, including government-owned or controlled corporations, and local governments for assistance. This authority is
likewise, conferred upon the provincial offices as may be established pursuant to Section 5 of this Executive Order.
In Baaga v. Commission on the Settlement of Land Problems,
[16]
we characterized the COSLAPs jurisdiction as being general in nature, as follows:
Petitioners also contend in their petition that the COSLAP itself has no jurisdiction to resolve the protest and counter-protest of the parties because its power to
resolve land problems is confined to those cases which are critical and explosive in nature.
This contention is devoid of merit. It is true that Executive Order No. 561 provides that the COSLAP may take cognizance of cases which are critical and
explosive in nature considering, for instance, the large number of parties involved, the presence or emergence of social tension or unrest, or other similar critical
situations requiring immediate action. However, the use of the word may does not mean that the COSLAPs jurisdiction is merely confined to the above
mentioned cases. The provisions of the said Executive Order are clear that the COSLAP was created as a means of providing a more effective mechanism for the
expeditious settlement of land problems in general, which are frequently the source of conflicts among settlers, landowners and cultural minorities. Besides, the
COSLAP merely took over from the abolished PACLAP whose functions, including its jurisdiction, power and authority to act on, decide and resolve land
disputes (Sec. 2, P.D. No. 832) were all assumed by it. The said Executive Order No. 561 containing said provision, being enacted only on September 21, 1979,
cannot affect the exercise of jurisdiction of the PACLAP Provincial Committee of Koronadal on September 29, 1978. Neither can it affect the decision of the
COSLAP which merely affirmed said exercise of jurisdiction.
Given the facts of the case, it is our view that the COSLAP is not justified in assuming jurisdiction over the controversy. As matters stand, it is not the
judiciarys place to question the wisdom behind a law;
[17]
our task is to interpret the law. We feel compelled to observe, though, that by reason of the ambiguous
terminology employed in Executive Order No. 561, the power to assume jurisdiction granted to the COSLAP provides an ideal breeding ground for forum
shopping, as we shall explain subsequently. Suffice it to state at this stage that the COSLAP may not assume jurisdiction over cases which are already pending in
the regular courts.
The reason is simple. Section 3(2) of Executive Order 561 speaks of any resolution, order or decision of the COSLAP as having the force and effect of
a regular administrative resolution, order or decision. The qualification places an unmistakable emphasis on the administrativecharacter of the COSLAPs
determinations, amplified by the statement that such resolutions, orders or decisions shall be binding upon the parties thereinand upon the agency
having jurisdiction over the same. An agency is defined by statute as any of the various units of the Government, including a department, bureau, office,
instrumentality, or government-owned or controlled corporation, or a local government or a distinct unit therein.
[18]
A department, on the other hand,
refers to an executive department created by law.
[19]
Whereas, a bureau is understood to refer to any principal subdivision of any department.
[20]
In
turn, an office refers, within the framework of governmental organization, to any major functional unit of a department or bureau including regional
offices. It may also refer to any position held or occupied by individual persons, whose functions are defined by law or regulation.
[21]
An instrumentality
is deemed to refer to any agency of the National Government, not integrated within the department framework, vested with special functions or
jurisdiction by law, endowed with some if not all corporate powers, administering special funds and enjoying operational autonomy, usually through a
charter. This term includes regulatory agencies, chartered institutions and government-owned or controlled corporations.
[22]
Applying the principle in
statutory construction of ejusdem generis, i.e., where general words follow an enumeration or persons or things, by words of a particular and specific
meaning, such general words are not to be construed in their widest extent, but are to be held as applying only to persons or things of the same kind or
class as those specifically mentioned,
[23]
section 3(2) of Executive Order 561 patently indicates that the COSLAPs dispositions are binding
on administrative or executive agencies. The history of the COSLAP itself bolsters this view. Prior enactments enumerated its member agencies among which it
was to exercise a coordinating function.
The COSLAP discharges quasi-judicial functions:
Quasi-judicial function is a term which applies to the actions, discretion, etc. of public administrative officers or bodies, who are required to investigate
facts, or ascertain the existence of facts, hold hearings, and draw conclusions from them, as a basis for their official action and to exercise discretion of a
judicial nature.
[24]

However, it does not depart from its basic nature as an administrative agency, albeit one that exercises quasi-judicial functions. Still, administrative
agencies are not considered courts; they are neither part of the judicial system nor are they deemed judicial tri bunals.
[25]
The doctrine of separation of
powers observed in our system of government reposes the three (3) great powers into its three (3) branches the legislative, the executive, and the
judiciary each department being co-equal and coordinate, and supreme in its own sphere. Accordingly, the executive department may not, by its own
fiat, impose the judgment of one of its own agencies, upon the judiciary. Indeed, under the expanded jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, it is empowered
to determine whether or not there has been grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or
instrumentality of the Government.
[26]

There is an equally persuasive reason to grant the petition. As an additional ground for the annulment of the assailed status quo order of COSLAP,
UNITED accuses private respondents of engaging in forum shopping. Forum shopping exists when a party repetitively avail[s] of several judicial remedies
in different courts, simultaneously or successively, all substantially founded on the same transactions and the same essential facts and circumstances, and
all raising substantially the same issues either pending in, or already resolved adversely by some other court.
[27]
In this connection, Supreme Court
Administrative Circular No. 04-94 dated February 8, 1994 provides:
Revised Circular No. 28-91, dated February 8, 1994, applies to and governs the filing of petitions in the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals and is intended
to prevent the multiple filing of petitions or complaints involving the same issues in other tribunals or agencies as a form of forum shopping.
Complementary thereto and for the same purpose, the following requirements, in addition to those in pertinent provisions of the Rules of Court and existing
circulars, shall be strictly complied with in the filing of complaints, petitions, applications or other initiatory pleadings in all courts and agencies other than the
Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals and shall be subject to the sanctions provided hereunder.
1. The plaintiff, petitioner, applicant or principal party seeking relief in the complaint, petition, application or other initiatory pleading shall certify under oath in
such original pleading, or in a sworn certification annexed thereto and simultaneously filed therewith, to the truth of the following facts and undertakings: (a) he
has not theretofore commenced any other action or proceeding involving the same issues in the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, or any other tribunal or
agency; (b) to the best of his knowledge, no such action or proceedings is pending in the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, or any other tribunal or agency; (c)
if there is any such action or proceeding which is either pending or may have been terminated, he must state the status thereof; and (d) if he should thereafter learn
that a similar action or proceeding has been filed or is pending before the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals or any other tribunal or agency, he undertakes to
report that fact within five (5) days therefrom to the court or agency wherein the original pleading and sworn certification contemplated herein have been filed.
The complaint and other initiatory pleadings referred to and subject of this Circular are the original civil complaint, counterclaim, cross-claim, third (fourth, etc.)
party complaint, or complaint-in-intervention, petition, or application wherein a party asserts his claim for relief.
2. Any violation of this Circular shall be a cause for the dismissal of the complaint, petition, application or other initiatory pleading, upon motion and
after hearing. However, any clearly willful and deliberate forum shopping by any other party and his counsel through the filing of multiple complaints
or other initiatory pleadings to obtain favorable action shall be a ground for the summary dismissal thereof and shall constitute contempt of
court. Furthermore, the submission of a false certification or non-compliance with the undertakings therein, as provided in Paragraph 1 hereof, shall constitute
indirect contempt of court, without prejudice to disciplinary proceedings against the counsel and the filing of a criminal action against the party. [italics supplied]
xxx xxx xxx
The said Administrative Circulars use of the auxiliary verb shall imports an imperative obligation xxx inconsistent with the idea of
discretion.
[28]
Hence, compliance therewith is mandatory.
[29]

It bears stressing that there is a material distinction between the requirement of submission of the certification against forum shopping from the undertakings
stated therein. Accordingly,
xxx [f]ailure to comply with this requirement cannot be excused by the fact that plaintiff is not guilty of forum shopping. The Court of Appeals, therefore, erred
in concluding that Administrative Circular No. 04-94 did not apply to private respondents case merely because her complaint was not based on petitioners cause
of action. The Circular applies to any complaint, petition, application, or other initiatory pleading, regardless of whether the party filing it has actually
committed forum shopping. Every party filing a complaint or any other initiatory pleading is required to swear under oath that he has not committed
nor will he commit forum shopping. Otherwise, we would have an absurd situation where the parties themselves would be the judge of whether their actions
constitute a violation of said Circular, and compliance therewith would depend on their belief that they might or might not have violated the requirement. Such
interpretation of the requirement would defeat the very purpose of Circular 04-94.
Indeed, compliance with the certification against forum shopping is separate from, and independent of, the avoidance of forum shopping itself. Thus, there is a
difference in the treatmentin terms of imposable sanctionsbetween failure to comply with the certification requirement and violation of the prohibition against
forum shopping. The former is merely a cause for the dismissal, without prejudice, of the complaint or initiatory pleading, while the latter is a ground for
summary dismissal thereof and constitutes direct contempt.
[30]

A scrutiny of the pleadings filed before the trial courts and the COSLAP sufficiently establishes private respondents propensity for forum shopping. We
lay the premise that the certification against forum shopping must be executed by the plaintiff or principal party, and not by his counsel.
[31]
Hence, one can deduce
that the certification is a peculiar personal representation on the part of the principal party, an assurance given to the court or other tribunal that there are no other
pending cases involving basically the same parties, issues and causes of action. In the case at bar, private respondents litany of omissions range from failing to
submit the required certification against forum shopping to filing a false certification, and then to forum shopping itself. First, the petition filed before the
COSLAP conspicuously lacked a certification against forum shopping. Second, it does not appear from the record that the ASSOCIATION informed Branch 4 of
the Regional Trial Court of Baguio City before which Civil Case No. 3316-R was pending, that another action, Civil Case No. 3382-R, was filed before Branch 61
of the same court. Another group of homeless residents of Dominican Hill, the LAND REFORM BENEFICIARIES ASSOCIATION, INC. initiated the latter
case. The aforesaid plaintiff, however, does not hesitate to admit that it filed the second case in representation of private respondent, as one of its affiliates. In the
same manner, the certification against forum shopping accompanying the complaint in Civil Case No. 3382-R does not mention the pendency of Civil Case No.
3316-R. In fact, the opposite assurance was given, that there was no action pending before any other tribunal. Another transgression is that both branches of the
trial court do not appear to have been notified of the filing of the subject COSLAP Case No. 98-253.
It is evident from the foregoing facts that private respondents, in filing multiple petitions, have mocked our attempts to eradicate forum shopping and have
thereby upset the orderly administration of justice. They sought recourse from three (3) different tribunals in order to obtain the writ of injunction they so
desperately desired. The willful attempt by private respondents to obtain a preliminary injunction in another court after it failed to acquire the same from the
original court constitutes grave abuse of the judicial process.
[32]

In this connection, we expounded on forum shopping in Viva Productions, Inc. v. Court of Appeals
[33]
that:
Private respondents intention to engage in forum shopping becomes manifest with undoubted clarity upon the following considerations. Notably, if not only to
ensure the issuance of an injunctive relief, the significance of the action for damages before the Makati court would be nil. What damages against private
respondent would there be to speak about if the Paraaque court already enjoins the performance of the very same act complained of in the Makati
court? Evidently, the action for damages is premature if not for the preliminary injunctive relief sought. Thus, we find grave abuse of discretion on the part of
the Makati court, being a mere co-equal of the Paraaque court, in not giving due deference to the latter before which the issue of the alleged violation of the sub-
judice rule had already been raised and submitted. In such instance, the Makati court, if it was wary of dismissing the action outrightly under Administrative
Circular No. 04-94, should have, at least, ordered the consolidation of its case with that of the Paraaque court, which had first acquired jurisdiction over the
related case xxx, or it should have suspended the proceedings until the Paraaque court may have ruled on the issue xxx.
xxx xxx xxx
Thus, while we might admit that the causes of action before the Makati court and the Paraaque court are distinct, and that private respondent cannot seek civil
indemnity in the contempt proceedings, the same being in the nature of criminal contempt, we nonetheless cannot ignore private respondents intention of seeking
exactly identical reliefs when it sought the preliminary relief of injunction in the Makati court. As earlier indicated, had private respondent been completely in
good faith, there would have been no hindrance in filing the action for damages with the regional trial court of Paraaque and having it consolidated with the
contempt proceedings before Branch 274, so that the same issue on the alleged violation of the sub judice rule will not have to be passed upon twice, and there
would be no possibility of having two courts of concurrent jurisdiction making two conflicting resolutions.
Yet from another angle, it may be said that when the Paraaque court acquired jurisdiction over the said issue, it excluded all other courts of concurrent
jurisdiction from acquiring jurisdiction over the same. To hold otherwise would be to risk instances where courts of concurrent jurisdiction might have conflicting
orders. This will create havoc and result in an extremely disordered administration of justice. Therefore, even on the assumption that the Makati court may
acquire jurisdiction over the subject matter of the action for damages, without prejudice to the application of Administrative Circular No. 04-94, it cannot
nonetheless acquire jurisdiction over the issue of whether or not petitioner has violated the sub judice rule. At best, the Makati court may hear the case only with
respect to the alleged injury suffered by private respondent after theParaaque court shall have ruled favorably on the said issue.
We also noted several indications of private respondents bad faith. The complaint filed in Civil Case No. 3316-R was prepared by the ASSOCIATIONs
counsel, Atty. Conrado Villamor Catral, Jr. whereas the complaint filed in Civil Case No. 3382-R was signed by a different lawyer, Atty. Thomas S.
Tayengco. With regard to the petition filed with the COSLAP, the same was signed by private respondents individually. As to the latter case, we noted that the
petition itself could not have been prepared by ordinary laymen, inasmuch as it exhibits familiarity with statutory provisions and legal concepts, and is written in a
lawyerly style.
In the same manner, the plaintiffs in the three (3) different cases were made to appear as dissimilar: in Civil Case No. 3316-R, the plaintiff was
ASSOCIATION of which private respondent Mario Padilan was head, while the plaintiff in Civil Case No. 3382-R was the BENEFICIARIES. Before the
COSLAP, private respondents themselves were the petitioners, led again by Padilan.
[34]
Private respondents also attempted to vary their causes of action: in Civil
Case No. 3382-R and COSLAP Case No. 98-253, they seek the annulment of the Memorandum of Agreement executed by and among UNITED, the PMS, and
HIGC as well as the transfer certificates of title accordingly issued to petitioner. All three (3) cases sought to enjoin the demolition of private respondents houses.
It has been held that forum shopping is evident where the elements of litis pendentia or res judicata are present. Private respondents subterfuge comes to
naught, for the effects of res judicata or litis pendentiamay not be avoided by varying the designation of the parties or changing the form of the action or adopting
a different mode of presenting ones case.
[35]

In view of the foregoing, all that remains to be done is the imposition of the proper penalty. A partys willful and deliberate act of forum shopping is
punishable by summary dismissal of the actions filed.
[36]
The summary dismissal of both COSLAP Case No. 98-253 and Civil Case No. 3316-R is therefore
warranted under the premises. We shall refrain from making any pronouncement on Civil Case No. 3382-R, the dismissal of which was elevated on appeal to the
Court of Appeals where it is still pending.
WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby GRANTED. The status quo order dated September 29, 1998 issued in COSLAP Case No. 98-253 by respondent
Commission On The Settlement Of Land Problems (COSLAP) is hereby SET ASIDE; and the petition filed in COSLAP Case No. 98-253 and the complaint in
Civil Case No. 3316-R are hereby DISMISSED for lack of jurisdiction and forum shopping. Costs against private respondents.
SO ORDERED.
Bellosillo, (Chairman), Mendoza, Quisumbing, and Buena, JJ., concur.